NFL Week 2 Preview: Panthers vs. Bills
Last week Cam Newton was rendered less than stellar by a hard-hitting, swarming defense fielded by the Seattle Seahawks as his Carolina Panthers were downed 12-7 during Week 1. Though the Panthers were relatively effective running the ball with DeAngelo Williams and Newton running for 86 and 38 yards respectively, there were virtually no big strikes downfield. In fact, both defenses were largely successful in stifling the high-powered potential of the other team.
Look for Carolina to pound the ball against a Bills team that appears to have been underachieving along the frontline since last year. Once the run is established the air assault will begin in earnest, much to the delight of receiver Steve Smith. Last week the Seahawks put the brakes on the Panther’s offense and held them to only 50 total plays for the game. Cam can be spectacular at times and will look to score early and often against a Bills squad that may not have the firepower to keep up. Ball security is a must for both Williams and Jonathan Stewart.
Rookie quarterback EJ Manual had a fairly decent debut versus the New England Patriots although you might not think so if you looked at the box score and noticed his rather pedestrian 150 passing yards. However, he did have two touchdowns and was 18 for 27 on his passing attempts and didn’t turn the ball over. You almost expect at least one turnover from a rookie during his first game. Completing over 50 percent of his passes? Man, he’s almost playing with house money come Sunday.
But, according to a G.I. Joe comic book I once read, almost only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. The Bills will need to rely heavily on running back’s CJ Spiller and Fred Jackson and, once they have established the run, start gashing Carolina’s suspect secondary with play action passes. It remains to be seen whether or not Manuel has the acumen to take advantage of Carolina’s deficiencies. Carolina head coach Ron Rivera may have already game planned accordingly.
Cam Newton is past due for a spectacular game and I gotta funny feeling Buffalo doesn’t have enough offense to keep up once Carolina gets clicking on all cylinders. Carolina wins 28-7.
Ricardo Hazell is a freelance writer for Rantsports.com. Follow him on Twitter @NikosMightyDad or add him to your network on Google.