Preview: Queen City Homecoming

This season T Git will be providing a preview before each Panthers game to provide you insight into the game. Follow him on twitter @TGIT_Lin .

It was a solid first weekend for the Carolina Panthers as they pulled off a 23-3 victory against the San Francisco 49ers. This was only the second opening victory for the team since 2011. The last one occurred in 2015 which sparked a 15-1 regular season and a trip to the Super Bowl.  The defense was on fire being led by the captains Luke Kuechly, Thomas Davis and Kurt Coleman. The Cats allowed the third fewest yards in the league, forced two turnovers, sacked QB Brian Hoyer four times. Also, the 49ers only weapon, Carlos Hyde, was held to 45 yards rushing.

The offense started out slow and took some time to shake off the rust in the first half. It appeared as though Mike Shula was trying to assimilate Christian McCaffrey into the offense going to him early and often.  Cam Newton, who looked a bit off, lead the team to a first half touchdown drive by connecting on a 40 yard touchdown pass with newcomer Russell Shepard. Highlights on the offensive side of the ball was the running back duo of Jonathan Stewart and Christian McCaffrey. The pair ended the game with 102 yards rushing and capped off the game off with a 13 play drive to seal the victory.

Buffalo Bills vs Carolina Panthers

When: September 17th 1:00pm EDT

Where: Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, North Carolina

The home opener for the Carolina Panthers is not only a homecoming for the team, but also for former Defensive Coordinator Sean McDermott and Assistant GM Brandon Beane.  McDermott joined the Bills after spending six seasons as the defensive coordinator with the Panthers, where he developed a unit that is considered one of the best in the league.  Beane spent his entire 19-season NFL career working up the Panthers’ ranks, including the past two working under former general manager Dave Gettleman.  Also, the Bills added former Panthers Mike Tolbert, Joe Webb and Kaelin Clay this offseason. So to say the Bills are familiar with the Panthers is an understatement.  The spread is listed shows Panthers -7.5 and even with the familiarity between the two teams, the Panthers will cover easily!

Keys For The Bills:

The Bills will need to get to Cam Newton early and often.  If they can rattle Cam and give themselves an early lead, it could be too much for an offense that does not yet look to be in sync.  Defensive linemen Shaq Lawson, Kyle Williams and Marcell Dareus will need to control the line for this to happen.  Offensively, LeSean McCoy will need to have a breakout game and give Tyrod Taylor room to throw down the field to Jordan Matthews and Zay Jones.  Both Taylor and McCoy will need a big game for the Bills to take home the victory.

Keys For The Panthers:

The Panthers just have to stay the course.  Building on what they did in week 1 with defense and a ground and pound attack, they shouldn’t have any problems with the Bills.  The way the lines are playing on both sides of the ball should be a huge factor again in week 2.  The offensive line, which did not allow a sack last week, needs to continue to keep Cam Newton upright.  The o-line will continue to allow the running game to put up 100 yard games and open up play for the deep ball.  If all goes well for the Panthers the defense will have another great week and not allow the Bills offense more than 100 yards rushing and 17 points.  I see the Panthers winning this game by at least 10 to begin 2-0 on the season.

Cover Photo Credit Melissa Melvin Rodriguez- Panther Team Photographer