4 reasons the Carolina Panthers will beat the Browns in Week 1

(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Jaycee Horn
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Jaycee Horn /
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Carolina Panthers
(Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports) Christian McCaffrey /

Carolina Panthers have Christian McCaffrey raring to go

There was a minor scare amongst fans when Christian McCaffrey popped up on the injury list this week. A worst-case scenario for the Carolina Panthers surrounding the running back, who’s featured just 10 times over the last two seasons due to various injury complications.

Thankfully, it was nothing more than a cut to the shin caused by a cleat in practice, according to head coach Matt Rhule. McCaffrey is all systems go for Week 1 and the Panthers will be counting on their best offensive weapon heavily throughout what promises to be a fascinating contest.

McCaffrey is an elite dual-threat presence that completely alters the way opposing defenses go about their business. There might be a shift in how the former first-round pick is utilized given the need to keep him healthy, but he remains the focal point despite plenty of other talented individuals on offense.

The Panthers looked like a well-polished unit with McCaffrey shouldering the load last season. Things went downhill quickly when he went out of the lineup, so offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo must be wary about how much pressure he puts onto the Stanford product against a Cleveland Browns defense that is loaded with gifted players across all three levels.

When McCaffrey is firing, the Panthers always have a chance. But this needs to be a team effort to reach their goal.