In week 2 of the 2017 season, the Carolina Panthers will host the Buffalo Bills. The Panthers came away with a 23-3 victory over the San Francisco 49ers in week 1. A dominant defensive effort. The Panthers front 7 wreaked havoc all day, racking up four sacks on Brian Hoyer.
The same can’t be said for the Panthers offense. Quarterback Cam Newton struggled for almost two quarters before settling down and completing his last nine passes. The Panthers rushing attack ran off the last eight minutes of the 4th quarter totaling 116 yards rushing yards on the day. Rookie Christian McCaffrey was a focal point in the Panthers offense and proved to be a security blanket for Newton.
A lot of familiar faces will roll into Bank of America Stadium on Sunday afternoon, Former Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott is now the head coach in Buffalo. Former Panthers assistant GM Brandon Beane is now the GM of the Buffalo Bills, as well as former players such as Mike Tolbert, Joe Webb and Leonard Johnson.
After 38 rushing attempts in last week’s contest, I expect much of the same on Sunday. The Panthers will look to establish the running game early and often, however I expect quarterback Cam Newton to be more efficient. Newton spread the ball around to 8 different targets last week and often took the easy play by dumping the ball down. Until Newton gets his rhythm and confidence back in that throwing shoulder, the Panthers passing attack won’t be as explosive as the fans would hope.
McDermott may know what to expect from the Panthers offense. However, Carolina is much more talented than the New York Jets. I expect them to control the clock and the line of scrimmage.
The Panthers defense will look to build off of last week’s performance. Stopping Bills running back Lesean McCoy will be no easy task, the Bills have a potent rushing attack. Combined with the athleticism of Tyrod Taylor and a stout offensive line, Buffalo will look to impose their will on the Panthers front 7. Containing the run and limiting big plays over the top from the Bills passing attack will be the key to victory for the Panthers. If Kawann Short and Star Lotulelei dominate up front like they did last week, the Panthers should come out on top.
In a battle of 2 teams with similar styles, I give the edge to Carolina at home. Bills head coach Sean McDermott would love to get his first road win against his former team, but the Panthers will be too tough to handle at home. Panthers 27, Bills 17