4 sneaky threats the Panthers should watch out for vs. the Lions

(Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports) Quintez Cephus
(Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports) Quintez Cephus /
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Carolina Panthers
(Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports) Kerryon Johnson /

Kerryon Johnson – RB

The Lions were dealt a blow when D’Andre Swift suffered a concussion that has eventually ruled him out. Their rookie sensation has been firing on all cylinders of late and he is the latest in a long line of former Georgia running backs who are going to have long and successful careers in the NFL.

While Detroit might decide to open the game with Pro Football Hall of Fame-bound veteran Adrian Peterson in the backfield, the Carolina Panthers should also keep a close eye on Kerryon Johnson whenever he is on the field. The third-strong back has been used primarily in passing downs this season and he should feature even more prominently with Swift forced to sit this one out.

Johnson can break off significant yardage in space and Carolina has had trouble with pass-catching running backs over the last two seasons. Much will depend on how much joy Peterson gets in the early going, but it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Auburn product get season-highs in both carries and targets at Bank of America Stadium.

The Panthers’ lack of ability stopping the run has been there for all to see. Not having Swift to deal with should give them a shot in the arm – at least initially – but if they don’t take Johnson’s threat seriously, they’ll end up paying a heavy price.