5 critical factors that will decide the Panthers vs. Saints in Week 3

(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Frankie Luvu
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Frankie Luvu /
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Carolina Panthers
(Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports) Christian McCaffrey /

Carolina Panthers must play complementary football

It’s about time the Carolina Panthers find a balance and learn to play good football on both sides of the ball at the same time. We’ve seen throughout the opening two games of the season that when one unit is firing on all cylinders the other has gone ice cold.

A prime example of this occurred on Sunday at MetLife Stadium. After being practically dormant through two quarters, Baker Mayfield finally put together a drive as he led the Panthers 67 yards for a score. And to start the game, the Panthers’ defense was lights out holding the Giants to just six points following back-to-back fumbles.

But as soon as Mayfield put the Panthers 13-6 ahead the defense lost all momentum, allowing Daniel Jones to drive down the field at will. This ended with a crucial touchdown to rookie tight end David Bellinger.

Funnily enough, this drive coincided with Phil Snow’s decision to start dropping Brian Burns into coverage.

The Panthers’ offense and defense must start to play in harmony. Carolina’s offensive unit needs to start sustaining drives to give the defense time on the sideline, and when the defense is on the field it’s vital they get stops when the offense begins to click.

Looking ahead to Sunday’s encounter with the New Orleans Saints, their clear strength lies on defense. So there may be more pressure on Snow’s unit to generate takeaways and score points.