With less than 24 hours until the Carolina Panthers will go up against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium, it means it’s time to throw out some predictions that are sure to go wrong. Well, at least mine.
This is our first addition of Cat Crave’s Keep Pounding Picks, which will be done each week by our staff as we make our predictions regarding the game. Without further ado, here they are.
Panthers 24, Bills 20
Rivera realizes a big win on the road and gives the team momentum.
Pick to Click: Josh Norman. Norman had a subpar game last week against the Seahawks, and I’m sure he is chomping at the bit for another performance like he had during the preseason.
Panthers 17, Bills 6
The Panthers offense sputtered against a great defense and lost a starting offensive lineman due to injury. Buffalo’s underrated safety Jarius Byrd is listed as doubtful, and that should give the offense a little breathing room in the passing game on the road.
C.J. Spiller should stay bottled up again this week while Carolina increases its production from last week against a less-than-stellar defensive unit. Rookie quarterback EJ Manuel will have to run for his life and I see the Bills having four turnovers to the Panthers’ one.
Pick to Click: Look for Ted Ginn Jr. to try and exploit the weakness at safety and a few attempts Cam to get deep this week. Either he and/or Steve Smith should have a couple of 40 plus yard catches this week. Coming from Smitty, it won’t be a surprise. Anything of the sort coming from Teddy is a welcome bonus.
Panthers 31, Bills 10
The Panthers take on the Bills this week in what is a must-win game. I know it’s early in the season, but for the sake of the fans and team morale, this is a game they have to have. Truth be told they should be able to win this game in a somewhat convincing manner.
Now I know many people will think the Bills played the Patriots really well, but this New England team is a watered down version of championship teams from the past. Buffalo will have a difficult time slowing down the Panther run game, which will give the passing game a chance to go vertical. Adding to the difficulty stopping the run, the Bills’ secondary is banged up and may be missing a few starters.
The defense for the Panthers will put pressure on EJ Manuel. He has some mobility, but the Panthers’ pass rush looks to very disciplined and the rushers tend to stay in their lanes allowing for little room for the quarterback to try and escape. The pressure Carolina will exert on Manuel will result in three turnovers (two picks and a fumble) and give the Panthers a short field to work with on more than one occasion.
Cam and co. will have an offensive explosion. He will throw for 250 yards and three touchdowns while DeAngelo Williams runs for 100 yards and a score.
Pick to Click: Josh Norman. Norman Seemed to be a non-factor in the first game against Seattle. That may be because he had his man so well covered; Russell Wilson never threw to Norman’s side of the field. He had a tremendous preseason and against Buffalo he will breakout and begin his climb to becoming a top tier NFL corner.
You can find Tony’s pick here.
Panthers 34, Bills 14
This game is going to be a prime example of how Carolina’s defense is going to win the team some games. That front seven is going to force Manuel into playing mistake-prone football, which in turn will result in the offense working off a short field occasionally but also means the offense will get plenty of chances. Last week that wasn’t the case as the Panthers ran an NFL low 50 offensive plays. Look for Luke Kuechly to come out flying and Greg Hardy to make more of an impact than he did in Week 1.
Pick to Click: Domenik Hixon. It looks like he’ll get on the field to make his debut and with how banged up Buffalo is in the secondary there are going to be opportunities for receivers to get open. We’ve seen Brandon LaFell struggle to make a consistent impact when he’s on the field, Armanti Edwards is still Armanti Edwards and Ted Ginn Jr. has never been a reliable receiving option. That leaves the door open for Hixon to step up and become an integral part of the offense against the Bills.
Well, that wraps up our picks for this week and as you can see we all have the Panthers winning. We either know something or are all a bunch of homers. We’ll find out tomorrow.