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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Carolina Panthers QB Bryce Young's growth

The performance of Bryce Young may just be the biggest factor that could determine the outcome of this game. The Detroit Lions offense, even with Jahmyr Gibbs and Amon-Ra St. Brown missing, is going to put up points on the Carolina Panthers' defense.

Will the Panthers be able to keep up?

In Week 4, he had the highest completion percentage, quarterback rating, and passing yard totals of his fledgling career. The counterargument to that is the fact that while it was his best start, the numbers were still lackluster.

The bottom line is simple, but improvement is improvement. Especially for a rookie quarterback with limited help on offense.

Of course, the most talked about buzz for the Panthers this week has been the wide receiver trade rumors. While it is true that Carolina lacks star power in the room, every guy in there is a competitor, and they may be feeling a bit disrespected by the rumors.

One way to change minds is to show up on Sunday.

The key for Young and the Panthers' chances on Sunday is to build on his Week 4 showing, not regress from it. It won't be the easiest environment in Detroit, but from here on out, we should be seeing Young's numbers, comfortability, and confidence grow.

Carolina has yet to pass the 20-plus point threshold in Young's three starts. If that changes in Detroit, this game could be a lot closer than people think.

If not, Lions fans may not have to sweat all that much to see their team improve to 4-1.