The Carolina Panthers were tipped to get an old-fashioned beatdown against the New Orleans Saints in FanSided's predictions for Week 2.
After the Carolina Panthers were beaten by the Atlanta Falcons to begin their 2023 campaign, it left large sections of the fanbase to feel a particular way about the team's hopes. This might have more to do with what happened in the days after rather than anything too concerning from a performance standpoint in Week 1.
Starting interior offensive lineman Brady Christensen is out for the season with a torn bicep that required surgery this week. Just how long stud cornerback Jaycee Horn will be out of action is anyone's guess, but the prognosis regarding his hamstring complication isn't great although nothing has been confirmed for definite one way or another at the time of writing.
The Panthers have made a series of moves this week in the wake of such a poor first outing. Not many are expected to make a contribution right away, but there is some hope Tarik Cohen can lend his explosiveness on special teams at the very least once the one-time North Carolina A&T star gets himself in genuine football shape.
Carolina Panthers predicted to lose heavily in Week 2
That won't be this weekend, which looks like another stern test of Carolina's credentials. The bright lights of ESPN and Monday Night Football descend on Bank of America Stadium for a pivotal early season clash versus the New Orleans Saints, who got their campaign off on a positive note and will more than fancy doing the same in the face of NFC South opposition in this one.
This is a sentiment echoed by sportsbooks across the country and Cody Williams of FanSided, who tipped the Panthers to get a 27-13 drubbing in front of their home fans thanks in no small part to the Saints' ability to create more explosive plays with Derek Carr under center.
"Bryce Young might be good, but it feels pretty easy to say that the Panthers as a whole are probably not. Without a mistake-prone Desmond Ridder to keep them in this game, the Saints looked shaky at times but quite dangerous at others. Their defensive front should be able to put the rookie quarterback under duress and, with Carolina not having Jaycee Horn in the secondary, Derek Carr should be able to hit some shots down the field. Those explosive plays should ultimately make for a sizable margin of victory on the road for New Orleans."- Cody Williams, FanSided
It might be wise to stay off social media if this result comes to fruition. Twitter - or X as it's so creatively called these days - has been a toxic place among Panthers fans this week. This would reach new levels entirely if Frank Reich's men start their season 0-2 with two straight losses to divisional rivals.
All hope is not lost for the Panthers. They have a talented defense capable of causing havoc led by Brian Burns and Derrick Brown, but missing Horn could be a body blow with less-then-stellar alternatives faced with the prospect of covering Chris Olave and Michael Thomas.
If Carolina loses on Monday night with the NFL world watching, it wouldn't be the end of the world with 15 games left. However, it would undoubtedly give Reich a steep mountain to climb in pursuit of demonstrating the growth needed in the first year under his leadership.
Strap yourselves in, it promises to be another rollercoaster ride.