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 Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) Robby Anderson /

Wide receivers vs. Raiders’ secondary

If there is one area that the Carolina Panthers must exploit in this game it is their wide receivers consistently making plays against the Raiders defensive backs. They enter the new year with a very solid group of pass-catchers. Las Vegas comes into the matchup with question marks at the cornerback positions.

It will be exciting to see what first-year offensive coordinator Joe Brady will cook up in his first game calling plays for the Panthers. The Raiders will obviously be focused on slowing down Christian McCaffrey which could leave the defense vulnerable in the passing game.

Carolina’s No. 1 receiver D.J. Moore will be under a lot of pressure to get open and make plays for quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. He will likely be lined up against cornerback Trayvon Mullen who was a second-round draft pick for the Raiders in 2019. The wideout should prove to be too much to handle for the second-year defensive back.

If the Raiders decide to use all of their safety help to cover Moore, then one of Carolina’s other receivers will be forced to step up. Free-agent addition Robby Anderson will be tasked with stepping in to make a big catch or two in his first game suiting up for the Panthers.

Anderson just needs to make one deep grab down the field to stretch the Raiders defense and move the safety help over to his side of the field.

The Panthers will put themselves in a great position to win the matchup if they can get the passing game going against the Raiders. All they have to do is keep the defense from putting eight defenders in the box so that McCaffrey can do his thing in the running and short passing game.