How could the Carolina Panthers fare over their next four games after starting the campaign with a disappointing loss at the Atlanta Falcons?
After all the hope and optimism surrounding the Carolina Panthers during an offseason of immense change across the franchise, it was sad to see what transpired at the Atlanta Falcons. An ineffective offensive display was the catalyst behind their Week 1 loss, which left Frank Reich and his staff with plenty to ponder heading into a pivotal early season showdown against the New Orleans Saints on Monday Night Football.
The 2023 season might be in its infancy, so overreactions are plentiful after just one game. But if the Panthers start 0-2 with successive defeats against NFC South opposition, it'll leave Reich with a mountain to climb in pursuit of potential playoff football during the first campaign under his leadership.
Big improvements are needed, and quickly. Carolina's defense looked the part more often than not and the offensive line also provided some outstanding protection for quarterback Bryce Young, but something didn't click and must be rectified to stand any chance of success moving forward.
With this in mind, we predicted how Carolina's next four games might go after their 0-1 start.
Carolina Panthers vs. Saints - Week 2
The bright lights of Monday Night Football await as Bank of America Stadium hosts ESPN and the New Orleans Saints in Week 2. It's hard to call any game this early in the season a must-win, but the Carolina Panthers have an added sense of urgency following their opening weekend loss.
New Orleans comes into the game on the back of a narrow triumph, so they'll be brimming with confidence. It's also worth remembering that the Panthers will be without Jaycee Horn, who'll be out for several weeks after suffering a hamstring issue to continue his torrid luck on the injury front.
Prediction: Win (1-1)
This could go either way, in all honesty. Although it's a tentative prediction, we're placing some real value on home-field advantage with the national spotlight glaring.