4 key storylines to watch during Carolina Panthers vs. the Saints in Week 2

(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold /
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Carolina Panthers
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Matt Rhule /

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Here are some key storylines to watch ahead of this afternoon’s game between the Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints at Bank of America Stadium.

Excitement is now building for the Carolina Panthers ahead of their Week 2 contest against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday. There promises to be another healthy crowd at Bank of America Stadium for the crucial NFC South divisional matchup, which is going to be a stiff test for Matt Rhule’s roster in no uncertain terms.

The Saints look set to be without some key figures. But they still have enough in the way of quality to cause the Panthers difficulties if both sides of the football aren’t ready.

There were some encouraging signs from Carolina’s opening day victory over the New York Jets. Although the same red-zone and protection problems were evident once again and they won’t get away with such frailties in this one.

Without further ado, here are four big storylines to keep an eye on when the Panthers take on the Saints.

Storyline No. 1

Carolina Panthers
(Billy Hardiman-USA TODAY Sports) Zane Gonzalez /

Have the Carolina Panthers got it right at kicker?

Another week, another kicker for the Panthers.

Ryan Santoso was cut just one game after his trade from the New York Giants, which saves Carolina a seventh-round pick Scott Fitterer might be able to put to good use next spring.

The next man into the poisoned chalice is Zane Gonzalez, who came in for a tryout earlier this offseason without doing enough to warrant a kicking competition with Joey Slye throughout training camp.

Gonzales boasts a career field goal success rate of 78.0 percent, including 72.7% of his attempts with the Arizona Cardinals in 2020. He’ll need to hit the ground running because the Panthers can ill-afford to be looking elsewhere next week.