We open with Tampa Bay the first week. Last year we handled the Bucs pretty well due to their injuries. They’ve gone out this year and made significant changes bringing in Vincent Jackson, Carl Nicks, Eric Wright and draft picks Doug Martin and Mark Barron. This in addition to a new coaching staff has Vegas lines down to a point. Look for some type of shoot out with the Panthers on top at the end 31 to 21. Cam will again be as advertised, but we shouldn’t look for a 400 yard game.
Week 2, the New Orleans Saints come to town on a high note having gotten Bounty Gate suspensions reversed. We find the answer out to how has the defense improved. The question is how many points will be needed to win. Most people believe the loss of their coaches will cause them to struggle. Don’t count on it. During the off season and knowing Bounty penalties were going to happen they brought in 5 new starters on defense and replaced Carl Nicks with Ben Grubb. This one ends Saints 41 and the Panthers 31.
Week 3, we get the Super Bowl Champs New York Giants still smarting from an opening game loss to the Dallas Cowboys. The games comes down to our offensive line holding out the best front 4 in football. If this happens with their problems in the secondary look for a close low scoring affair with the Carolina Panthers pulling off an upset 24 to 21.
Week 4, we face the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta, a place we have always had trouble. Can our secondary shut down Julio Jones and Roddy White while holding Michael Turner under 100 yards? This one will be close all the way with a Panthers win if they can get the lead early. The Falcons have super corners in Grimes and Samuels. Our running game gives us a push In this one with a final of Carolina 27 and Atlanta 23.
This scenario has us coming out of the first month 3 and 1. To make the playoffs, we can be no worse than 2 and 2 and this would give us a 2 and 1 record in the division. Whoever wins the division probably needs to win at least 11 games and if we don’t win the division we will still need 10 wins to be a wild card team.