4 big-time matchups to watch during Panthers vs. Saints in Week 2

(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold /
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Carolina Panthers
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FOX. Sunday, Sept 19. Panthers +3.0. 1 PM ET. 1-0. 15. 1-0. 87

What are some intriguing matchups to watch when the Carolina Panthers square-off against the New Orleans Saints in Week 2?

A Week 1 victory, albeit a close one, has given a young Carolina Panthers squad confidence and a little bit of swagger headed into their next contest against what looks to be a surprisingly dominant New Orleans Saints team.

The opening day gave us a glimpse of what this young Panthers team is capable of, for better and in some cases for worse. Bright moments were somewhat dimmed by untimely lapses and breakdowns once a scramble started.

But let’s start with the brightest star from last Sunday’s game, the defensive front.

And oh what a front it was.

A group that was cautiously lauded as being a possible force in the league showed up in a big way and quieted whispers of both Hasson Reddick and Brian Burns being flashes in the pan last season.

The defense as a whole tied for first in total sacks with a staggering six from five different players and without an absolutely superhuman turn back of the clock by Chandler Jones, they would have led by a wide margin.

Added to this are an impressive 10 quarterback hits and six tackles for a loss which just goes to show the amount of push the team was able to generate.

Things on the back end were impressive as well, just with some hiccups. Namely a late touchdown in which Corey Davis was able to find himself wide open in the endzone after a long scramble by Zach Wilson. Those plays being the hardest to manage for even the most talented of defensive backs.

Another encouraging sight was Jeremy Chinn seeming quite comfortable in his old position, being able to run stride for stride with a speedster like Elijah Moore and break up a pass that would’ve been completed against most coverage.

The other side of the ball was more of a mixed bag.

While Sam Darnold certainly had a great first half, that was in spite of protection not because of any advantage it offered. Another somewhat concerning trend was the fact that the receivers, and especially Dan Arnold, struggled to gain separation and have any meaningful impact on the game.

Putting all of that weight on the shoulders of Christian McCaffrey simply won’t work in every game.

But with that little recap out of the way, what are the big matchups to watch when the Panthers welcome New Orleans this Sunday?