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Falcons next opponent: Everything to know about the Carolina Panthers 

Get to know more about the Falcons' upcoming opponent, the Carolina Panthers

The Atlanta Falcons (0-4) return to Mercedes-Benz Stadium for their first NFC South game as they take on the Carolina Panthers (2-2) at 1 p.m. ET on FOX. The Panthers are coming off a two-game win streak while the Falcons will be looking to get their first win of the year.

Here's what to know about the Falcons upcoming opponent, the Panthers:


Panthers learning their new identity under coach Matt Rhule

The Panthers are in the first year under Matt Rhule's leadership in Carolina. Rhule was hired in early January after emerging as one of the top college coaches from his time at Temple and Baylor. When Rhule took the job, he made several changes from a personnel standpoint. The team moved on from longtime starting quarterback Cam Newton and signed Teddy Bridgewater. Veteran tight Greg Olsen was not re-signed and All-Pro linebacker Luke Kuechly retired. Carolina used all seven of their draft picks on defensive players, including defensive tackle Derrick Brown with the No. 7 overall pick. The Panthers have recorded wins over the Arizona Cardinals and Los Angeles Chargers in consecutive weeks.

Teddy Bridgewater is finding his groove again

In his first season with the Panthers and new offensive coordinator Joe Brady, Bridgewater appears to be hitting his stride. He's completed 103 passes for 1,147 yards and eight touchdowns. Bridgewater recorded his first rushing touchdown since 2018 in Carolina's Week 3 win over Arizona. Heading into Week 5, Bridgewater ranks No. 6 in passing yards in the NFL.

Carolina's pass rush has been the difference

With former first-round Brian Burns and this year's second-round pick Yetur Gross-Matos, the Panthers have found their duo coming off the edge. Burns and Gross-Matos both have one sack on the year but look to be gaining more confidence each game. Burns recorded 7.5 sacks in the 2019 season and one forced fumble. Gross-Matos' strip sack on Kyler Murray was one of the game-changing plays for Carolina's defense in their most recent win over the Cardinals.

No Christian McCaffrey, no problem

One of the most surprising parts of the Panthers' recent success on offense is that it has been without the services of All-Pro running back, Christian McCaffrey. The Panthers lost McCaffrey for what is expected to be anywhere between four to six weeks with an ankle injury following their Week 2 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. McCaffrey has been one of the league's best offensive weapons since he was drafted as the No. 8 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. Without McCaffrey in the lineup, the Panthers have been relying on wide receiver Robby Anderson heavily in the passing game. Anderson ranks sixth in receiving yards with 377 on 28 catches and his running mate, D.J. Moore, has also been productive. Moore has caught 18 passes for 288 yards.

Get an inside look at the matchup between the Atlanta Falcons and Green Bay Packers with top photos from inside Lambeau Field in Week 4.

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