3 crucial matchups the Panthers must win vs. the Browns in Week 1

(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Ikem Ekwonu
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Ikem Ekwonu /
3 of 4
Carolina Panthers
(Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports) Baker Mayfield /

Carolina Panthers passing game vs. Browns secondary

The Cleveland Browns have a very talented secondary. One that the Carolina Panthers would be wise not to underestimate when the two sides clash in Week 1.

Defensive coordinator Joe Woods runs a nickel package in the majority of his scheme. This is implemented to create balance with the trajectory of the passing game in the modern-day NFL.

Denzel Ward is Cleveland’s top cornerback and is widely considered to be a top-10 player at the position. The former Ohio State star will likely shadow D.J Moore for most if not the whole game, which should be an exciting matchup between two ultra-consistent performers.

John Johnson III and Grant Delpit as the two safeties will be a big problem for Moore, Robbie Anderson, Shi Smith, and Terrace Marshall Jr. throughout the contest. They are very instructive, high football IQ players while being well coached in a scheme that fits their skill set in the most advantageous way possible.

Baker Mayfield will be well aware of the talent within the Browns’ secondary having practiced against them over many years. Just how much this inside knowledge will assist remains to be seen, but it won’t hurt in the slightest.

Cleveland’s defensive backs – which also include gifted youngster Greg Newsom – are going to be a problem that the Panthers can’t and won’t ignore if they want any success through the air. Poor weather conditions could make this task even more difficult if heavy rain arrives as expected.