Keep Julio Jones under control
Ever since coming into the league, Julio Jones has been one of the Panthers’ worst enemies. In 13 career games against Carolina, the two-time All-Pro receiver has caught for 1,233 yards and six touchdowns–including the disastrous 300-yard game in Week Four of the 2016 season. Since that game, however, the Panthers have held Jones to just 24 catches for 350 yards and one touchdown in five contests. In the most recent matchup, he managed just four catches for 28 yards.
Despite seeing a drop-off in production this season, Jones remains one of the league’s best receivers, and as a result, the Panthers need to be especially aware of him anytime he’s on the field. Carolina’s James Bradberry, who missed last weekend’s game, will likely be tasked with sticking with him on Sunday. Fortunately for the Panthers, Bradberry has been able to keep Jones in-check since being drafted. As a matter of fact, the 2016 second-round pick is having a career year, and is positioning himself for a big contract.
According to Player Profiler, Bradberry is allowing the seventh-lowest yards per reception and fifth-lowest opponent passer rating among qualified cornerbacks. On top of that, he has yet to allow a single touchdown pass in 2019. Not bad for someone who’s had to guard Robert Woods, Mike Evans (twice), and DeAndre Hopkins. Sunday’s matchup with Jones will simply be his next big challenge. Bradberry’s performance will be especially important considering the fact that the Panthers could be without both Donte Jackson and Ross Cockrell on Sunday.