Injuries continue to hinder the Atlanta Falcons heading into their Week 2 matchup against the Carolina Panthers, as Devonta Freeman will not be playing in the home opener.
This injury is nowhere near as devastating as the losses of Keanu Neal and Deion Jones, as Tevin Coleman has stepped into RB1 roles in games numerous times before. Not taking a risk with the franchise running back that’s dealing with a knee injury is obviously the right move for Atlanta.
The Panthers’ front-7 is as good as any in the NFL with the likes of Mario Addison, Kawann Short, Dontari Poe, and Julius Peppers on the defensive front-line and Luke Kuechly manning the linebacker core along with Shaq Thompson. Coleman will have a lot of opposing strength and power to deal in his first start of the season.
The bigger thing to watch for is how the Falcons replace Neal and Jones against a typically stout Panthers rushing attack. Damontae Kazee will be the one joining Ricardo Allen in the Falcons’ secondary and Duke Riley will start at middle linebacker. Two talented, but mostly unproven 2nd year players are going to have to step up in the biggest way in order to maintain Atlanta’s playoff chances throughout the season.