Let’s take a look at the first 4 games of the Carolina Panthers regular season in the first installment of the pre-camp predictions.
Week 1: September 10th @ San Francisco 49ers
Well, this will be a sleeper of a season opener if last seasons’ stats speak for anything. Last season the Carolina Panthers averaged more overall and passing yards than San Francisco by an average of 15.5%. However, San Francisco had a stronger ground game than Carolina. The Carolina Panthers also averaged four more points per game than San Francisco last season as well, and with both teams fresh, along with Carolina’s improved ground attack, the Panthers should easily open the season with a win.
Week 2: September 17th vs Buffalo Bills
Out of six meetings with the Buffalo Bills, Carolina has only managed to win one game, and that was back in 2005. If history likes to repeat itself, the initial favorite looks to be Buffalo, but if injuries do not hinder the Panthers, look for the revamped offense to flex it’s muscle against a sub-par run defense. The key player to this game will be Newton. Last season, Buffalo was ranked seventh in pass defense. However, with Newton’s bolstered offensive line and receiving corp, can he make the Bills scramble to stay in the game? This will be a close one like in 2013, but the Carolina Panthers should manage to escape with the “W”.
Week 3: September 24th vs New Orleans Saints
At home, and arguably the biggest rivalry in the NFC South. Unfortunately for the Panthers, the Saints offense was ranked 1st last year in overall yards per game, against Carolina’s 19th. Even though Carolina is 5-3 in their last 8 games with New Orleans, Brees’ weapons are too strong for the Carolina Panthers’ secondary, and Carolina will net their first loss of the season, after a “hot” start.
Week 4: October 1st @ New England Patriots
Oh boy. On the road, in New England, wish them luck. The Panthers take on last year’s highest-scoring defense in their home stadium. If the Patriots manage to keep their weapons healthy, the odds of Carolina walking away over .500 is very slim. The Carolina Panthers will lose this one to last year’s SuperBowl champs.
Stay tuned for parts 2, 3, and 4 of the Game-by-Game predictions of the Panthers regular season.