5 bold predictions for the Panthers preseason finale vs. Steelers

(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Brian Burns
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Brian Burns /
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Carolina Panthers
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold /

Sam Darnold throws for 200 passing yards

Taking the shackles off quarterback Sam Darnold in this game is the smart way to go. He got the chance to throw just two passes against the Baltimore Ravens during his one series in the lineup, so more reps could make all the difference to his confidence as he gets set to take on his old team in Week 1.

It doesn’t appear likely that the Carolina Panthers will open up the playbook much. Keeping plenty back for when things matter more is the top priority.

However, there should be enough in Joe Brady’s locker to provide Darnold with enough options to generate some significant yardage against the Steelers’ reserves.

The former first-round pick isn’t expected to have Christian McCaffrey alongside him in the backfield. But the Panthers are loaded with weapons in the passing game for Darnold to utilize early and often until he’s pulled.

This is a crucial season awaiting Darnold in 2021. He’s made a smooth adjustment following his trade from the New York Jets, with the signal-caller seemingly coming to life once the tempo increased and the pads went on at Wofford College.

If Darnold can play within the system and keep his emotions in check, then a profitable evening is well within reach for the USC product. Simply put, there is just no telling what this would do for the player’s chances of making this opportunity in Carolina count.