We sat down with a Los Angeles Chargers expert for five big questions ahead of the Carolina Panthers’ pivotal Week 3 clash on Sunday.
The Carolina Panthers face another big test of their resolve when they visit the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 3.
They are coming into the game on the back of two losses to start the 2020 season, which makes it ten straight defeats dating back to the previous campaign. If new head coach Matt Rhule was unsure about the size of the task awaiting him before the Carolina Panthers took the field in a competitive setting, then he has been left in no doubt after the last fortnight.
The Chargers are another team that looks primed for a postseason push if their early efforts are any indication. Anthony Lynn’s men began the season with a narrow victory over the Cincinnati Bengals, before eventually falling to an overtime reverse at the hands of the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs in Week 2.
This will be the first game in over three years that the Panthers will be without star running back Christian McCaffrey. The All-Pro is recovering from a high ankle sprain that could keep him out for around 4-6 weeks, which has only lessened lowly expectations regarding Carolina’s ability to generate any sort of success in 2020.
What are the Carolina Panthers going up against on Sunday?
We sat down with Jason Reed, a Junior Editor at FanSided and site expert for Bolt Beat, who brilliantly cover the Chargers year-round, for some thoughts from behind enemy lines on the game and how he thinks it might go.
What did you make of Justin Herbert’s debut and what can the Panthers expect from him on Sunday?
Justin Herbert looked fantastic in his first game. He did make some rookie mistakes, but that comes with the territory and I do not think they cost the Chargers the game in the slightest.
Now that the Chargers had a week to prepare with Herbert, though, I am worried that they will adopt a more conservative playcalling style to keep him from getting hurt or making any of these rookie mistakes in key moments to burn the team.
How have the first two weeks of the season gone, above or below expectations?
Herbert’s miraculous debut makes it above expectations as the Chargers went toe-to-toe (and should have beaten) the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 2, in large part to Herbert.
The defense looks fantastic and the offense was moving the ball well with Herbert under center. Eventually, it will be Tyrod Taylor’s team again for at least a few games once he recovers from his punctured lung and I am not as confident in the offense then.
What areas do you think the Chargers can exploit on Sunday?
I think Teddy B is going to have a long day. The Chargers made Joe Burrow’s debut one to remember for how much he was getting banged up and even limited Patrick Mahomes with the pass-rush.
As you know, the Carolina Panthers do not have a fantastic offensive line and I think the pass-rush — especially without Christian McCaffrey to worry about — is going to eat Teddy B up.
Joey Bosa leads the league in pressures, Melvin Ingram has been great and the Chargers have gotten really good production from Linval Joseph, Jerry Tillery, and Uchenna Nwosu.
Which Carolina Panthers players could hurt the Chargers?
I think if anyone hurts the Chargers it will be Robby Anderson. The Chargers’ one area of concern in the secondary is the CB2 position.
Casey Hayward is fantastic at CB1 and Chris Harris has come in and been a solid slot corner. Michael Davis and Brandon Facyson are not great options and he has the best shot of having another huge game as he did in Week 1, particularly on the deep ball.
What are your thoughts on how the game will go and a prediction?
I see the Chargers pulling with a victory and I promise you I am realistic as it comes when predicting Charger games. I just don’t see how the Panthers offense can do enough to get going without CMC in the lineup after seeing what the Chargers did to the Bengals and Chiefs in back-to-back weeks.
I do think it will be a close game, because the Chargers never blow teams out, and will be relatively low scoring. 24-17, Chargers.
We at Cat Crave would like to thank Jason Reed for his time and if you’re looking for the best coverage of the Los Angeles Chargers on the web, then look no further than Bolt Beat for news, analysis, and everything in between.