When the Falcons get healthy, this team can compete in ’18
By Brian ManzulloFalcons quarterback Nathan Peterman says he’s not sure how long he’ll be out of football.
Peterman, who tore his ACL during the 2015 season, has been rehabbing at the University of Florida since January, but said he’s hopeful that he’ll return to the team by the end of the season.
Peterson, who led the Falcons to a 10-5 record, posted a solid 7.7 rating and a 3-0 record with a .739 winning percentage in three games during the preseason.
The Falcons have one of the league’s best defenses, but the unit has struggled since the return of quarterback Matt Ryan.
The Panthers have the NFL’s worst scoring defense, allowing 30.8 points per game.
The Panthers have allowed 11.4 points per drive and rank 27th in the NFL.
In Week 1, the Panthers outscored the Falcons, 27-20.
The Falcons also defeated the Panthers 27-14 on a late-season road win.
In addition to Peterman, the Falcons are also expected to use a combination of veteran free agents, including defensive tackle Justin Durant and guard Jake Matthews, to shore up their secondary.
In the backfield, the Atlanta Falcons have DeAndre Hopkins, who is coming off a season in which he caught 49 passes for 576 yards and four touchdowns.
The rookie is the best wide receiver in the game.
He has also helped the Falcons make a run at the NFC South title with his blocking ability.
Hopkins led the NFL with 559 receiving yards in 2016, but his production dipped after Week 2 when he suffered a torn ACL.
Hopkins is now scheduled to undergo surgery on Thursday.
Atlanta is expected to play in four straight games before the playoffs begin.