5 Carolina Panthers Players Who Will Shine In Week 1
5 Carolina Panthers Who Will Shine In Week One
The Carolina Panthers are a team that has a ton of talent. If they were in the AFC, they would be a no doubt playoff team. Unfortunately, they are playing in quite possibly the deepest division in the NFL, in the NFC South. Their schedule is one that is far from easy.
It definitely starts off with a bang. In the first game of the season, the Panthers host quite possibly the best team in the NFL, the Seattle Seahawks. They played each other last season, and each team's defense shined. The Seahawks didn't allow an offensive touchdown, yet the team only won by four. An interception returned to the end zone and a safety accounted for most of the Panthers points.
The Panthers had the ball on the Seahawks' three-yard line towards the end of the fourth quarter. They had the chance to take the lead in a game in which the other team couldn't figure out the defense. Then Cam Newton missed a pass on fourth and goal from the one-yard line. That just seemed to deflate any offensive momentum the team had.
The point is that this team was THAT close to taking this supposedly superior team out. The Seahawks just aren't as good on the road, it's a fact. They are playing this game in Carolina against a team and a coach that have a ton to prove.
There are five players that will really shine against this team. Based on past performance, motivation, or whatever it is, these players are going to be phenomenal this Sunday.
5. Luke Kuechly
Luke Kuechly will be this year's J.J. Watt. I understand the tall tale that comes with trying to live up to such lofty expectations, but he is going to be a player in which everyone knows his name by the end of the season. He quite possibly could be the Defensive Player of the Year. It all begins with this game. Last season, he played very well against the Seahawks. He brought in an interception, had a deflected pass and made 11 tackles. He was an absolute monster for this defense. The only time the Seahawks scored a touchdown is when they got the ball on the Panthers 27 yard line. Pay attention, because you are about to watch greatness.
4. Cam Newton
Cam Newton is the only guy on this offense that can make it happen. Steve Smith can only do so much against Richard Sherman. The running backs are garbage, and that is putting it nicely. The connection with Smith was not working against this team last season. He was targeted 13 times, yet he only hauled in four catches. So why is he going to have a good game this season? He knows he can run on this team, he ran for 42 yards on only seven carries last season. He is going to run again and that will open up the door for the pass. This will equal a decent game from the Panthers quarterback.
3. Captain Munnerlyn
Captain Munnerlyn is now the leader of this secondary once again. After free-agent acquisition Drayton Florence flamed out and was cut before taking a meaningful snap as a Panther, Munnerlyn once again is the No. 1 guy. Last season, he may have had the best game of his career against the Seahawks. Munnerlyn had an interception returned for touchdown, which fun fact he has done on three of his five career interceptions, with also a deflected pass and three tackles. The Seahawks as a team didn't have a receiver catch a pass for more than 20 yards. This defense, as a whole, showed that they are going to cause a lot more turnovers this season, after only having 11 interceptions all last season. Munnerlyn will have an impact on the outcome of this game.
2. Greg Olsen
It is going to be near impossible to attack these cornerbacks and win. They tried it last season, and it did not work. Then you have two options, throw to your running back or hit your tight end. The running backs are not going to give you much on this team, so you're going to Greg Olsen. He was not targeted nearly enough and Newton is much better as surveying the field now than he was then. Olsen is going to be the hot new tight end by the end of this game.
1. Jon Beason
Jon Beason's last game last season was the week before the game against the Seahawks. Beason is as confident and driven as ever. He missed most of the past two years and he claims he is finally 100%. He is going to come out of the gate ready to make plays, and he will. Beason seems like he has been waiting to feel this way. He is trying to get back to how he played in 2010. If he claims he is feeling the way he did back then, then you should expect to see him try to prove it immediately.