Football is back!!! The Carolina Panthers will begin their 2015 season on the road against the Jacksonville Jaguars…not the worst opponent to start off against, but that doesn’t mean Cam and company will walk away with an easy one. Injuries and depth concerns have turned a once highly anticipated season into one filled with skeptical optimism. With so many questions looming, it’s critical the Panthers start off with a win, especially against a Jacksonville squad that finished last year 3-13.
Players to Watch
After a dreadful preseason, we’ll soon find out if Corey Brown or Philly Brown will take the field for Carolina and trust me, everyone is rooting for Philly. Sunday’s game will go one of two ways for the recently named starter. Either Philly will regain the confidence he once had in himself, or the disappointments that followed Corey after a preseason plagued with drops will continue into the regular season. Trust, everyone is hoping Philly takes the field.
Last year Carolina had one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL. Exit Byron Bell (thankfully) and enter Michael Oher. The question now is, has the offensive line gotten any better? The former University of Mississippi star and inspiration for the popular movie “The Blind Side” will be protecting Carolina’s most valuable asset in Cam Newton. Will Oher write his redemption story with the Panthers after several disappointing seasons, or will he be Bell 2.0?
After missing the entire preseason due to injury, Charles Johnson will quickly need to knock off any rust against a formidable Jacksonville offensive line. Getting pressure on the QB is the foundation of Carolina’s defense. The Panthers were a different team when Johnson’s play picked up in the second half of last season. The team cannot afford that this year. Getting off to a good start will be crucial and Johnson’s leadership and play on defense will go a long way to set that tone.
The Run Game:
The Panthers win games when they run the ball well. Period. It changes everything, from opening the field up for Newton and his receivers, to allowing the defense time to rest. It is essential. After the departure of DeAngelo Williams during the off-season, Jonathan Stewart is officially the team’s featured back. Will this be a role that he excels in? Will he be healthy enough to stay on the field? Will the offensive line create holes for him? This stat line will be one of Carolina’s most important. I’ve said a few times earlier how important it is for a certain player to start well. In this case, the entire unit will need to do their jobs in order to ensure success. Starting out of the blocks with a 100-yard rushing game will set a marvelous tone for Stewart and the offensive line.
Inside the Numbers
Yards Per Game
Passing Yards Per Game
Points Per Game
Total Yards Allowed Per Game
Passing Yards Per Game Allowed
Rush Yards Per Game Allowed
Points Per Game Allowed
Location: EverBank Field, Jacksonville, Florida
Time: 1:00 p.m. ET
TV: FOX, with Chris Myers and Ronde Barber announcing.
Carolina will play well enough to win, but will also have plenty to work on. Panthers: 17 Jacksonville: 10