Stat predictions for 5 Panthers players on offense 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) Christian McCaffrey /

Christian McCaffrey – Carolina Panthers RB

  • 20 carries, 97.5 rushing yards, one touchdown
  • 5 receptions, 44 receiving yards

The Carolina Panthers might be much improved in the passing game this season. But everything good for them on offense will continue to go through Christian McCaffrey.

The All-Pro running back is coming off a campaign where he became the third player in NFL history to go over 1,000-yards rushing and receiving. This was a remarkable achievement and one that earned McCaffrey a four-year, $64 million deal with a $21 million signing bonus, and $38 million guaranteed this offseason.

How the Panthers handle McCaffrey’s workload is going to be crucial. Giving their face of the franchise more than 400 combined touches again appears foolish if they want to keep the running back healthy for the duration of his new deal. So finding the right balance could be the difference between success and failure.

McCaffrey is going up against a formidable defensive front on Sunday. The Raiders have two potential studs in Maliek Collins and Johnathan Hankins who will be eagerly looking forward to taking on a Panthers’ offensive interior that comes into the campaign with more questions than answers.

If McCaffrey can get to the second level consistently, there should be more of a chance to make plays. But the best dual-threat back in the NFL should get off to a good start regardless of the eventual result.