Carolina’s 2021 regular season kicks off with a home opener against the New York Jets at Bank of America Stadium. The Panthers enter this season under the guidance of second-year head coach Matt Rhule. Despite a 5-11 record in 2020, the Panthers were competitive in nearly every game, playing 11 games decided by eight points or fewer, tied for second-most
in the NFL.
The Jets posted a 2-14 record last season. After starting the season 0-13, New York won two of its final three games. Head coach Robert Saleh enters his first season with the Jets after four years with the 49ers.
This matchup marks the fourth-consecutive season the Panthers open the season at home. The team is 1-2 in its previous three Week 1 matchups.
About the Panthers
- Matt Rhule enters his second season as head coach of the Carolina Panthers after being named the franchise’s fifth head coach in franchise history on January 8, 2020. Rhule has spent 23 years as a coach in the college and NFL ranks. Despite a 5-11 record during his first season with Carolina, the Panthers were competitive in nearly every game – playing 11 games decided by eight points or fewer, which tied for second-most in the NFL.
- McCaffrey leads the NFL in scrimmage yards per game since the start of 2019. His 2,392 scrimmage yards last season were the 3rd most in a single season in NFL history.
- Since Week 1 of the 2019 season, WR DJ Moore has totaled 2,368 receiving yards, 6th most in the NFL over that span. Moore totaled 1,193 receiving yards in 2020, a new single-season best and the 11th most in the NFL, 9th among WRs. His 18.1 average yards per catch ranked 3rd among all qualified players in 2020.
- In WR Robby Anderson’s first season in Carolina last year, he recorded career highs in receptions (95) and receiving yards (1,096). He ranked 10th in the NFL in receptions and 15th in receiving yards. Anderson’s 95 receptions were the 6th most in a single season in franchise history.
- QB Sam Darnold joined Carolina this offseason following three years with the Jets. The Panthers traded New York three picks in exchange for the new starting QB: a 6th-round pick in the 2021 draft (which New York traded away to Kansas City), along with a 2nd-round pick and 4th-round pick in 2022.
- Since being drafted by Carolina in 2019, DE Brian Burns’ 16.5 sacks leads all Panthers players. Burns ranks 2nd in franchise history in sacks through a player’s first two seasons, only trailing Julius Peppers (19.0 sacks in 2002-03). In 2020, Burns racked up 36 pressures, 9th most in the NFL, despite missing the season finale. His 21 hits on opposing QBs were the most by any Panther and tied for 11th in the NFL.
- As a rookie Jeremy Chinn had the most tackles (116) and most defensive touchdowns (2). He was also 2nd in fumble recoveries (2) and tied for 5th in forced fumbles (2).
About the Jets
- Sunday’s contest will mark Robert Saleh’s first game as a head coach in the NFL. He was the former defensive coordinator in San Francisco (2017-2020)
- Among the players on the active roster, 13 could potentially make their NFL debut on Sunday, while 14 players are making their Jets debut. Over half of the roster, 27 of 53, will play for the Jets for the first time.
- Last season, compared to the six interior defensive linemen selected to the Pro Bowl, defensive lineman Quinnen Williams ranked either first of second in the league in stop, sack and stuff percentage.
- In six drives during the preseason, the first-team offensive line allowed zero sacks and zero quarterback hits when on the field with Zach Wilson.
- The Jets finished the preseason 2-0-1, their first undefeated preseason since 2002 when they finished 4-0.
- Quarterback Zach Wilson completed 75% of his passes for 9.55 yards per attempt, with three touchdowns and no interceptions for a 137.7 passer rating – scoring four times in his six preseason drives, including both opening drives.
- On defense, the Jets finished the preseason in the top 10 in total defense (273.3 yards allowed per game), passing defense (160.0), sacks per pass attempt (10.1%), goal-to-do defense (50%) and opposing time of possession (24:50).
- All four of the team’s takeaways during the preseason came from rookie or second-year players.
Panthers vs Jets
- The Panthers and Jets have faced off just seven previous times prior to the 2021 season opener. The last time the two teams matched up was in Week 12 of 2017 (11/26/17) when Carolina defeated New York by a score of 35-27.
- Each team has one of the youngest rosters in the NFL. The Panthers are tied for the youngest team in the NFL with an average age of 25.67-years old, while the Jets rank third with an average age of 25.71, according to Elias Sports Bureau.
- REGULAR SEASON SERIES: 7 total matchups | Carolina leads the series 4-3
- LAST REGULAR SEASON GAME: 11/26/17 | Carolina Panthers 35 @ New York Jets 27
- CURRENT STREAK: Carolina has won the last two matchups
NYJ 20 @ CAR 30 (12/15/13)
CAR 35 @ NYJ 27 (11/26/17)
- Quarterback Sam Darnold’s first game as a Panther will be against the team that selected him third overall in the 2018 NFL Draft. In his three seasons with the Jets, Darnold started 38 games and racked up 8,097 passing yards (213.1/game), 45 touchdowns and 39 interceptions, while completing 59.8% of his pass attempts.
- Wide receiver Robby Anderson started his NFL career as an undrafted free agent with the Jets in 2016. Before joining Carolina in 2020, Anderson played four seasons in New York, playing in 62 games (47 starts) for the Jets. Anderson recorded 3,059 receiving yards and 20 touchdowns on 207 receptions as a Jet.
- Offensive lineman Greg Van Roten signed with New York in 2020 after spending the previous three seasons with Carolina. He originally joined the Panthers in 2017 and appeared in 10 games that season before becoming a starter the following season. As a Panther, Van Roten played in total 37 games, starting 27 of the contests.
- Panthers DT DaQuan Jones is a native of Johnson City, NY
- Jets RB Michael Carter played his college years at North Carolina from 2017-20.
- Jets RB Michael Carter II played his college years at Duke University from 2017-20.
- Jets WR Jamison Crowder is a native of Monroe, N.C. and played collegiately at Duke from
- Jets LS Thomas Hennessy played his college years at Duke University from 2012-16.
- Jets DL Shaq Lawson is a native of Central, S.C. and went on to play collegiately at Clemson from 2013-15.
- Jets WR Braxton Berrios is a native of Raleigh, N.C. and attended Leesville Road HS.
- Jets LB Hamsah Nasirildeen is a native of Concord, N.C.
How to Watch
Kickoff: 1:00 p.m. ET CBS: Andrew Catalon, Tiki Barber, Sherree Burruss
Live Stream: Panthers.com
Radio: WBT-AM 1110 AM in Charlotte market; On The Call: Mick Mixon, Jake Delhomme, Jim Szoke, Kristen Balboni