Carolina Panthers: Preview Of Week One Game


Sep 3, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Carolina Panthers head coach

Ron Rivera

looks on from the sidelines against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the second quarter at Heinz Field. Carolina won 23-6. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The first week of the 2015 NFL season is next week and I am going to dive into my thoughts about the first game of the year and my prediction. Of course I wrote an article over the off season with my 2015 season prediction for the Carolina Panthers but I am revising it as I go along each week. So, let us take a look at what Carolina will be up against.

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The Jacksonville Jaguars come into this season with a team that has improved slightly in my opinion from their 3-13 record last season. When I look at their roster I see a team capable of winning 4 or 5 games this season.

Blake Bortles now has a year under his belt in the NFL and I was very high on this guy coming out of college. He reminded me a lot of a young Ben Roethlisberger and I see a lot of upside in his game. Problem is the Jaguars are not surrounding Bortles with a lot of talent at the wide receiver position and the running back position. They are almost as bad off in the wide receiver department as the Panthers (almost is the key word).  The Jaguars defense is lacking in almost every department to say the least. It didn’t help their cause when rookie Dante Fowler Jr. went down with an injury. The Panthers offense should not have a difficult time moving the ball in the game.

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Jaguars may get O-Line reinforcements: Ezra Cleveland, Walker Little back in practice
Jaguars may get O-Line reinforcements: Ezra Cleveland, Walker Little back in practice /

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  • The Jaguars also did not force many turnovers last season which is always a plus when your team is playing a team like that. Jacksonville needs help in a lot of spots but they were horrible at stopping the run last season so expect the Panthers to run the ball a ton.

    Looking over the roster for the Jaguars last season they were young and inexperienced at a lot of positions. I expect to see a little more improvement from them as a whole. I know what you are thinking “what about our team Joshua” and you would be right let us take a look at the Panthers coming into this game.

    The Panthers are coming into the first game of the year with a lot of questions at wide receiver and who will take on the role of the number one wide receiver. Corey Brown looked to be that guy until his dropped passes spree the last few weeks. I expect to see the veterans Ted Ginn Jr. and Jerricho Cotchery step up this season as options in the passing game. You also cannot overlook Devin Funchess who I think will end up being the number one option at wide receiver.

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    During the preseason the Panthers’ offensive line was incredibly good. I honestly think if they play at that level Cam Newton will have his best passing year as a quarterback in the NFL. Of course that was preseason and the offensive line has yet to be tested in games that actually have meaning. I expect the offensive line to keep up their good play though and that will help Newton relax more in the pocket instead of being sacked over and over again. I just hope the offensive line can run block as good as they pass blocked this last preseason.

    On the defensive side of the ball we know now that Josh Norman will be under concussion protocol heading into week one of the regular season. Let us hope that Norman is good to go the first game of the year (I think he will be because the GUY IS A BEAST). We all know Norman is a monster on defense and is looking for a big payday as well. I expect nothing but good play from him in game one of this season.

    Also, Ron Rivera did let us know that Kony Ealy is going to be the starter opposite of Charles Johnson. It will be interesting to see how well Ealy does in the first start of this season and if he can get a sack or two to boost his confidence. If Ealy is getting to the quarterback then expect to see Bortles run for his life a lot. Ealy will allow Johnson some freedom on the other side if he can get to the quarterback often. The entire defense would benefit from that so let us hope that happens.

    The Panthers’ defense should have no problems with the Jaguars’ offense so I expect to see a low scoring game at least on Jacksonville’s side of things. My prediction is Panthers-27 and Jaguars-13 which seems like the right score on paper and I think it will be the final score at the end of the actual game as well. Every week I will update my prediction of the final record for your 2015 Carolina Panthers. My prediction of the final record for your 2015 Carolina Panthers is 12-4.

    Next: Observations of the Panthers Preseason