5 big storylines to watch during Carolina Panthers vs. NY Jets in Week 1

(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Robby Anderson
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Robby Anderson /
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Carolina Panthers
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Statement game for the Carolina Panthers defense?

We got a brief glimpse of what the Carolina Panthers’ defense might be capable of in 2021 in their preseason finale against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Phil Snow’s unit caused havoc against an under-strength offense led by quarterback Dwayne Haskins, which was highly encouraging even though it needs to be put into context somewhat.

This is a young, dynamic group capable of providing plenty of excitement throughout the campaign. Their first chance to make a real statement comes Week 1 in the face of a New York Jets’ offense that does have some questions to answer.

Run stopping is the big key here.

It would be a surprise if the Jets didn’t look to establish the run game to take the pressure off Zach Wilson. If the front seven can thwart this threat, it’s going to open things up for explosive pass-rushers and a gifted, athletic secondary to do damage.

Hopes are extremely high that the Panthers finally have a complete defense that should keep them competitive even when the offensive side of things isn’t going according to plan.

Setting the right tone against the Jets is the first objective. If they can do this, it’s a solid foundation from which to build a successful season.

Carolina’s defense will be fun to watch. Hopefully, this exciting style of play also comes with plenty of turnovers and general dominance in Week 1 and throughout the season.