5 huge concerns facing the Carolina Panthers in Week 1 vs. Browns

(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Matt Rhule
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Matt Rhule /
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Carolina Panthers
(Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports) Christian McCaffrey /

Carolina Panthers protecting the football

Weather conditions are going to play a big part on Sunday. Rain is expected during the contest, which will make things difficult for both teams and could result in a low-scoring affair.

Protecting the football from start to finish is crucial. Something the Carolina Panthers didn’t do effectively last time around and contributed significantly to the team losing 12 of their final 14 games after such a promising start.

This all starts in the trenches with the offensive line. Creating gaps for the likes of Christian McCaffrey and D’Onta Foreman is essential, but the onus will also be on the running back tandem to be strong and secure when attempting to generate yards.

McCaffrey’s return to health is a monumental boost for the Panthers. How they utilize the All-Pro could shift slightly, but he’ll need to be at his best against a Cleveland Browns defense that boasts playmakers everywhere you look on the front seven.

The game could be determined by fine margins, which is reflected in the flip-flopping of the odds this week. Carolina cannot afford any carelessness with the football, because the Browns have more than enough quality to create the turnovers needed to attain success.