The Panthers look to build on last week’s big win against rival New Orleans as they head to Oakland.
The 2016 season has not gone the way that the Carolina Panthers and their fans had hoped. As the Panthers were coming off a disappointing Super Bowl loss to the Denver Broncos, Carolina lost week one to that same team. That loss seemed to start the early season free fall for the Panthers as they lost five of the team’s first six games. However, Cam Newton and the Panthers seem to be getting their swag back as they have won three of their last four games.
On Sunday, Carolina will look to continue this nice play as they head to Oakland to take on a very good Raiders team that can put points up in bunches with Derek Carr and his offensive weapons. For Carolina to hang with this team, they will need to try and fix what they have had happen in their secondary. Without Josh Norman, who is now in Washington, back their as the top corner, Carolina has given up some big games in the air. That is something that cannot happen on Sunday if they are to beat this Raiders team. The secondary isn’t good enough to do it themselves, but the front seven is and if they can put pressure on Carr and rush him into throws, this secondary could get some much needed turnovers.
On offense, it’s simple for Carolina; they need to get their big receivers involved in the game early and often. Kelvin Benjamin and Greg Olsen are too talented to go uninvolved in the game at times. The ground game is not there this year so it’s time to rely on the legs and arm of one of the best players in the game in their quarterback Cam Newton. A lot of teams like to run to set up the pass, but Carolina might need to do much more passing to set up the run. The quarterback option has been a huge part of this offense in the pass with Newton in control, but right now teams just don’t fear this passing game.
Newton has to get Benjamin and Olsen involved in both the short game and the deep game, something that has not happened to the tune that most thought. If Cam can get back to stretching the field, it will help the ground game and the quarterback option with Newton. Opposing safeties will have to stay back and not drop down in the box to stop the run.
I don’t think the Panthers have the defense to stop this passing game which will in the end, cause the team to lose. Without that elite play in the secondary, teams are picking them apart and with the offensive line in Oakland, the front seven will not have the success they have seen at times this year. The biggest downfall will be the loss of the leader of this defense, Luke Kuechly. He has been ruled out this Sunday with a concussion and his leadership will be greatly missed on this defense.
Prediction: Oakland 31 over Carolina 24!