5 keys to victory for the Carolina Panthers vs. Saints in Week 2

(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Joe Brady
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Joe Brady /
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Carolina Panthers
(Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports) Alvin Kamara /

Carolina Panthers must contain Alvin Kamara

The 2017 draft was one with many hot takes but none were larger than the Carolina Panthers being derided for picking Christian McCaffrey at No. 8. Many arguments were made that Leonard Fournette and Alvin Kamara were the better value or even straight-up better players.

That really didn’t age well.

However, even as Panthers fans, there is no denying that Kamara is a dangerous weapon that needs to be accounted for.

The former third-round pick is coming off of four straight Pro Bowl selections. Whether that is a product of production or a particularly vocal fanbase is up for debate, but that consistency is something to be praised.

2021 is shaping up to be a different kind of season in many ways for Kamara and that was shown in Week 1. On limited touches, he managed only 91 scrimmage yards but did register a touchdown.

However, stats can be deceiving as the New Orleans Saints offense went for a “death by a thousand cuts” approach and executed it masterfully.

Being as diversified as the Saints offense was is a scary proposition for any defense. Without a specific star player to focus on limiting, who do you gameplan for?

The answer is the one with the longest track record of hurting your team or the player that if taken out of the equation would have the largest impact.

That is easier said than done, however.

Kamara is no simple task for even the best of defenses. Carolina is considered one of those, with his mix of hands and physical running style.

Whereas McCaffrey is an elusive back who can make you miss in a lot of ways, the former Tennesee star will just run right over you.

This, on top of his exceptional vision and ability to bounce a run to the outside if necessary, is what makes Kamara a matchup to watch. The Panthers linebacker core will have to showcase good decision-making and lateral speed throughout the contest if they are going to have any hope of stopping him.

If the Panthers can once again silence the run game of their opposition in Week 2, that’s one very large step toward making the Saints offense uncomfortable and out of rhythm.