Carolina Panthers: Storylines vs New England Patriots


Tonight is the third Carolina Panthers Preseason Game. In some way it is the only one that matters. This is because this the game where the starters will get their longest time on the field together. They are likely to play the entire first half together.

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It does not hurt to be going up against the New England Patriots in this matchup. The Patriots are, despite all Deflategate drama, the defending Super Bowl Champions. They are still quarterbacked by Tom Brady and still offer a good test on both sides of the ball. There will even be an appearance by former Panthers receiver Brandon LaFell.

With that said, let’s look at some of the storylines going into this matchup.

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1. Can the Panthers stop anybody?

Charles Johnson or no Charles Johnson, the Panthers need to display some stopping power on defense. Tonight is just as good a test as any other. If you can stop Tom Brady, you can probably stop anybody. The other unit the Panthers must watch for is the Patriot offensive line. If they can beat the Patriot o-line tonight, they will be in good shape.

2. Who steps up in the receiving corps?

Johnson has not been the only injury that may have been holding the Panthers back. Rookie wideout Devin Funchess has also been limited due to a minor injury. Therefore this is a good time for other members of the receiving corps to show their stuff. Cam Newton is going to need more targets than just Greg Olsen entering the season to keep defenses honest.

3. Daryl Williams to the Rescue?

Rookie right tackle Daryl Williams has been getting some good work in on the offensive line. He has been a part of both comeback wins by the reserve unit that are responsible for the Panthers’ spotless preseason record. It will be interesting to see if he gets a look at left tackle tonight and how long that look might last. The Panthers still are not quite comfortable at that position.

4. Can the Panthers stop relying on the reserve unit?

It is a tribute to Dave Gettleman that the Panther reserves have outplayed their counterparts, but neither the Panther reserves or their counterparts will play much during the regular season. The first unit needs to win a game or the 2-0 record so far will not mean much when everyone plays their first units all the time.

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