Predicting the Carolina Panthers 2021 season game by game

(Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold
(Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold /
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Carolina Panthers
(Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold /

Carolina Panthers vs. New York Jets

  • Week 1 (Sunday, September 12)
  • 1 pm ET
  • CBS

If Sam Darnold was keeping a close eye on where he will be taking the field against his old team, the signal-caller didn’t have to examine the schedule for too long. The Carolina Panthers welcome the New York Jets to Bank of America Stadium in Week 1 for what should be a fascinating insight into what fans can expect from their new quarterback over the course of the campaign.

Darnold feels hard done by following his trade, and rightfully so. The Jets didn’t make the necessary moves to put enough talent around their former No. 3 overall selection and kept faith with Adam Gase until it was too late.

There is nothing Darnold can do about this now. What’s important for the player is becoming a leader quickly and putting the abundance of weapons at his disposal in the best possible situations to make plays in Carolina.

In theory, this will be the best time to play the Jets, who made an incredible amount of changes to the roster and have a new head coach in Robert Saleh that is sure to turn things around if given enough time.

Prediction: Win

Zach Wilson is going to get a baptism of fire against the outstanding defensive front in Carolina. Although it’s obviously going to be almost entirely dependent on Darnold holding his nerve, the Panthers should get their season off on the right foot.