4 keys to victory for the Panthers against the Raiders in Week 1

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) D.J. Moore
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) D.J. Moore /
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Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Tre Boston /

Strong safety play

It’s not hard to envisage the Raiders targeting the suspect cornerback unit of the Carolina Panthers during their Week 1 encounter on Sunday. This threadbare group will be without the services of Eli Apple for at least the first three weeks after the free-agent signing went on injured/reserve and it remains to be seen just how well others lower on the depth chart will get on in his absence.

The pressure on No. 1 corner Donte Jackson is immense and if he fails to meet expectations, it is going to be a turbulent campaign. That’s why it is essential for the safety tandem of Tre Boston and Juston Burris to be at the top of their game.

The more assistance and security they can provide, then the better Carolina’s chances will be. Boston was one of the team’s standout performers in 2019 to earn a three-year, $18 million extension this offseason, with his play in clutch situations something that stood out considerably.

Burris is a free-agent arrival that performed well for the Cleveland Browns last time out. He made his presence felt at training camp with some outstanding plays and seems to have fitted into his new surroundings well.

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Their experience is going to stand the Panthers in good stead within a secondary that is going to be under concerted pressure from the Raiders and throughout the season. Using a three-safety scheme with rookie second-rounder Jeremy Chinn might also come in handy depending on just how much struggles the cornerback unit goes through.