Carolina Panthers defensive line set for acid test in Week 2 vs. Saints
The Carolina Panthers and their talented defensive front are gearing up for an acid test against the New Orleans Saints in Week 2.
It was a remarkable start on defense for the Carolina Panthers in Week 1 against the New York Jets. They completely overawed rookie quarterback Zach Wilson during the first half and kept this momentum going after the interval to ensure Matt Rhule celebrated an opening day victory despite the 19-14 score much closer than it should have been.
This was down in no small part to the performance of Carolina’s defensive front. There was an immense sense of excitement about what this unit could potentially bring in 2021 and judging by their initial exploits, the sky is the limit.
This was only the Jets. And there will be tougher challenges to come.
As it happens, the sternest of all comes in Week 2 at Bank of America Stadium.
If the Panthers had everything their own way last Sunday, that might not be the case this weekend against the New Orleans Saints, who boast arguably the best offensive line in the business.
Carolina Panthers DL are in for a tough afternoon in Week 2.
Make no mistake, this will be the acid test for the Panthers’ defensive front and one that will tell us much more about what this group is truly capable of throughout the campaign.
It’s all well and good accumulating six sacks and constant havoc against the Jets. If they can achieve something similar in the face of Sean Payton’s men, it’ll leave much more of an impression.
Generating pressure off the edge will be a tough task thanks to the presence of Terron Armstead and Ryan Ramczyk – who are among the top tackle tandems anywhere in the league and can make a substantial impact either against the run or in pass protection.
Brian Burns, Haason Reddick, Morgan Fox, and Yetur Gross-Matos are more than capable of giving them a run for their money. But defensive coordinator Phil Snow needs to get creative with his pass-rushing concepts to stand any chance of replicating their Week 1 production.
Andrus Peat and Cesar Ruiz form the New Orleans interior protection, with Erik McCoy set to miss around six weeks through injury. Although both have plenty of class, they will not be looking forward to going up against Derrick Brown after his outstanding performance against the Jets.
Expect the Saints to adopt a similar method to what they deployed so successfully against the Green Bay Packers. They’ll lean on running back Alvin Kamara heavily and if he’s able to generate good yardage, quarterback Jameis Winston can then feed off play-action passes.
The Panthers will be relying on their defense to keep them in the game. Especially if the offensive line fails to recover from a disappointing second-half display in Week 1.
There’s just no telling how much momentum the Panthers can generate from a win over their NFC South rivals this weekend. They are currently 3.0-point underdogs according to the latest betting odds from WynnBET, which indicates the size of the challenge awaiting them at Bank of America Stadium.
This is going to be nothing short of a war in the trenches. One that will play a large role in the outcome.
The level of talent Carolina’s defensive front will be up against is going up by a considerable margin. Something they are no doubt fully aware of as preparations gather pace.