3 bold predictions for the Carolina Panthers at the Vikings

(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) D.J. Moore
(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) D.J. Moore /
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Carolina Panthers
(Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports) Justin Jefferson /

The defense will not allow Justin Jefferson to beat them.

Thanksgiving may have passed, but the Carolina Panthers defense should be thankful the Vikings will be down one major playmaker on Sunday. Pro Bowl receiver Adam Thielen was placed on the COVID-19/Reserve list on Monday and was officially ruled out for the game.

This is a huge blow for Minnesota, but the Panthers are not out of the woods yet.

Now I won’t dare predict that this Carolina defense will be able to slow down Dalvin Cook. But I feel good about their chances of limiting the impact rookie wideout Justin Jefferson.

The former LSU Tiger is outperforming several talented rookie wide receivers that were drafted before him and even outpacing Thielen in receiving yards. With Jefferson being the main pass-catching threat, Carolina’s chances to be successful increase as they focus coverage on him.

This worked out well against the Falcons in Week 5 when the defense mainly had to worry about Calvin Ridley and tight end Hayden Hurst. Kyle Rudolph is not the threat he used to be, but shouldn’t be ignored.

If the Panthers can make Minnesota one dimensional and keep Jefferson at bay, it should considerably improve their chances of winning. This could be a game that is decided by fine margins, so any success Carolina’s secondary can generate against the first-year sensation will help their cause tremendously.