It's hard to imagine a unit that's been banged up more than Atlanta's offensive line. Things got so bad last week with three more injuries that tight end Levine Toilolo had to slide to right tackle. It's no better this week. Left guard Justin Blalock (back) and receiver Harry Douglas (left foot) will not play. Blalock had played in 102 consecutive games. Former Buc Gabe Carimi will play right tackle, joining center Peter Konz and left guard Harland Gunn as new starters.
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How bad are things with the Panthers, who have dropped two in a row? In a team meeting, Ron Rivera pointed out that his top two players - quarterback Cam Newton and linebacker Luke Kuechly - aren't doing enough. "And I wouldn't say called out is the right word," Rivera told ESPN. "I put their numbers up and explained who they are to us; these are the guys we need to play well, to do the things we need to give us an opportunity to win."
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If the Saints offense takes off this week against the Bucs, don't be surprised if receiver Brandin Cooks is a key reason. The No. 20 overall pick out of Oregon State leads all rookies with 23 catches. "He's very talented," quarterback Drew Brees said. "He can do a lot of things, and I think a lot of that is because of his intelligence. We can put him in multiple receiver positions, we can line him up all over the field. He's one of those guys who never makes a mistake twice."