3 potential problems facing the Panthers vs. Saints in Week 17

(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) Michael Schofield
(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) Michael Schofield /
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Carolina Panthers
(Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports) Matt Rhule and Teddy Bridgewater /

Sunday, Jan 3. 5-10. 87. 11-4. 15. FOX. 4.25 PM ET. Saints -5.5

Potential problems for the Carolina Panthers vs. Saints in Week 17.

The 2020 season seems to have gone past in the blink of an eye. But it has certainly been an eventful one where the Carolina Panthers are concerned. It’s been pretty much as advertised in the first year of head coach Matt Rhule’s tenure and although he is the right man for the job, there is still much work to be done in the coming months ahead of the 2021 campaign.

Finishing with back-to-back victories would take the Carolina Panthers to 6-10 and give them a solid platform from which to build. The New Orleans Saints won’t make things easy with the top seed still up for grabs and it still promises to be a stern test at Bank of America Stadium despite Sean Payton being without some key personnel on offense.

There are plenty of familiar faces on both sides, with both Teddy Bridgewater and Joe Brady working for the Saints previously. Much of Carolina’s scheme is similar to that which is deployed in New Orleans, so there shouldn’t be anything in the way of surprises when the Panthers take to the gridiron for the final time this season.

Here are three potential problems facing the Panthers in Week 17.

Problem No. 1

Carolina Panthers
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Michael Schofield /

Blindside protection

It’s no secret that the Panthers are struggling for options on their offensive line, especially at the critical position of left tackle. Russell Okung, Greg Little, and Dennis Daley will all miss the contest, leaving the coaching staff deciding between Michael Schofield and Matt Kaskey for the starting spot.

Considering how much Schofield struggled protecting the edge last weekend at the Washington Football Team, it would not be a shock to see Kaskey thrust into the role despite being called-up from the practice squad just a few short days ago. He’s been around the organization almost all season in some capacity and this is the audition he’s been looking for.

However, New Orleans boasts a formidable defensive front and they will undoubtedly target Teddy Bridgewater’s blindside with some ferocity early and often.