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 /
2 of 4
Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) Derrick Brown /

Defensive line vs. Offensive line

The most important matchup to watch could be Carolina’s defensive line going against Las Vegas’ offensive line.

There is no question that the strongest part of the Carolina Panthers’ defense is the men up front. They will be tested right out of the gate against one of the league’s best offensive lines and rushing attacks. Last season the Raiders averaged 118 yards per game running the football.

Carolina’s defensive line must be able to slow down Jacobs enough to make the Raiders look to other playmakers. Panthers’ First-round pick Derrick Brown will have an opportunity to showcase his talent right away if he is able to stuff Jacobs on running plays up the middle.

The biggest question mark for the Panthers’ defense is in the secondary. Luckily, the Raiders have unproven players lining up outside for their offense. Las Vegas will be relying heavily on two rookie wide receivers in Henry Ruggs III and Bryan Edwards to move the chains.

Panthers’ edge-rushers Brian Burns and Yetur Gross-Matos could have a big impact pressuring the quarterback if the Raiders are forced to throw the ball more than they would like to.

If the Panthers can win the battle up front, then they should put themselves in a position to take an early lead. This will force the Raiders to rely on throwing the football which takes the ball out of their best playmaker’s hands.