NFL Opening Week Debut Matchup
#1: Carolina Panthers @ Atlanta Falcons Sunday 1:00 PM
Bijan Robinson was the 8th overall pick in the 2023 draft. The Falcons expect to help Desmond Ridder gain confidence in the offense. In 2022, Atlanta ranked fifth in rush rating (90.6) and first in run blocking (83.7). A successful offensive line will help their rookie running back establish himself in an important divisional debut.
Scott Fitterer’s staff was determined to find their franchise player in the NFL Draft. Trade with the Chicago Bears gave the Panthers first dibs at the 2023 draft class. Talent filled the board, giving Carolina a bevy of options to choose from. With the first pick, the Panthers signed Bryce Young from the University of University of Alabama. They also acquired Adam Theilen, D.J. Shark, and Miles Saunders to help their new asset. Thomas Brown was named the offensive Coordinator this off-season and will also make his Panthers debut.
The NFC South was the worst division in football last season. Seventy-five percent of the division finished the campaign with a losing record. The off-season provided time for franchises to evaluate the 2023 schedule. Their long-term goals dictated what changes needed to be made. The New Orleans Saints and Tampa Buccaneers searched for answers in free agency. The Carolina Panthers and Atlanta Falcons used the NFL Draft.