3 critical factors that will decide Carolina Panthers game at Lions in Week 5

After an 0-4 start to the season, this game may dictate how the Panthers operate the rest of the way.

Bryce Young
Bryce Young / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
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Which crucial factors will decide the Carolina Panthers' fate as they travel north to face the Detroit Lions in Week 5?

There is simply no way around it - the Carolina Panthers have had their worst start to a season since 2010, and an 0-5 opening may end any small chance of a playoff berth. The 1992 San Diego Chargers started 0-4 and made the playoffs, but they are the last team to do that.

To put that into context, no team in NFL history has ever made the postseason after starting a campaign in such poor form.

This week presents a number of challenges for the Panthers, but they are huge underdogs on the road against one of the NFC's best. There is no easy way to pull off a 10-point upset in the NFL. Since 2018, Carolina is just 10-23 on the road as underdogs.

The pressure on head coach Frank Reich to right the ship and show signs of improvement has never been higher. This week will be against the best team he has faced yet.

Now that we got that very encouraging set of statistics out of the way, it is important to acknowledge a big positive for the Panthers heading into this matchup. Bryce Young is coming off his best start of the season and has another week of recovery completed on his ankle.

This is a big game for Carolina. Despite the odds being against them, they can win this game if a few key factors go their way.