3 important matchups to watch against the Raiders in Week 1

(Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) Brian Burns
(Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) Brian Burns /
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Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Christian McCaffrey /

The Carolina Panthers must win three key matchups to start the year off with a victory in Week 1.

The long-awaited kickoff to the 2020 NFL season is a week away. The Carolina Panthers will host the Las Vegas Raiders in Charlotte for what figures to be a competitive matchup.

The Raiders ended the 2019 season with a record of 7-9 missing the playoffs under Jon Gruden’s first year back coaching the team. The Carolina Panthers finished 5-11 last year and will be led by their own first-year head coach, Matt Rhule.

The two teams enter the 2020 season in similar situations. Both teams are built around running the ball on offense and controlling the clock. The Raiders offense focuses on getting running back Josh Jacobs as many touches as it can. Just as the Panthers do with All-Pro Christian McCaffrey.

Both teams also have young defensive units that have promising potential but have some glaring holes as well. This can cause some mismatches that the opposing offenses can exploit.

The Week 1 matchup between the Panthers and Raiders should be an even one which is alluded to in ESPN’s matchup predictor that gives Carolina a 51 percent chance to win the game. That’s about as dead even as it gets.

If Carolina is to start off the new year with a victory, then it must be able to win these three in-game matchups.