What are the big storylines to watch closely as the Carolina Panthers get set to take on the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 5?
This will be the first time during the 2021 season so far that the Carolina Panthers are coming into a game on the back of a defeat. Their humbling reverse at the Dallas Cowboys in Week 4 was something of a reality check for Matt Rhule’s men, who need to put things right at the earliest possible opportunity against the Philadelphia Eagles at Bank of America Stadium.
The Panthers have five winnable games through Week 9 before things get much tougher on their schedule. If the team wants to become a surprise playoff member, it’s vital some momentum builds between now and when they take on the Arizona Cardinals in Week 10.
Philadelphia’s lost three straight after demolishing the Atlanta Falcons on opening weekend. But their threat should be taken seriously and any complacency from Carolina’s point of view could end up costing them.
Without further ado, here are four big storylines to keep a close eye on during the game.
Storyline No. 1
Can the Carolina Panthers’ defense bounce back?
After a phenomenal start to the campaign from Carolina’s stout defense, they were brought back down to earth in no uncertain terms at the Cowboys. Dallas had their way in the running game – something no team was able to do before them – so how the Panthers respond to this setback should be monitored closely.
There’s nothing to suggest Phil Snow’s unit won’t return to the form of old. They are too talented for things to regress too much and there should be an added sense of urgency within the group in the knowledge that All-Pro cornerback Stephon Gilmore comes into the fold soon following his trade from the New England Patriots.
The Eagles put up 30 points last weekend against the Kansas City Chiefs in defeat. But the Panthers have a much tougher defensive group than the AFC Championship holders.