5 Carolina Panthers Who Will Shine Against the New York Jets

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5 Carolina Panthers Who Will Shine Against the New York Jets

Intro
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

The Carolina Panthers were the talk of the town last week, riding an eight game win streak into premier matchup with the New Orleans Saints for first place in the NFC South. They got beat down in the Superdome by the fearsome offensive attack of Drew Brees and Sean Payton, and the Panthers' offensive line could do nothing to stop Cameron Jordan and Junior Gallette.

The Panthers have been able to get by with their deficiencies in the secondary and on the offensive front, but their confidence has taken a hit now that their weaknesses have been exposed.

Luckily this week they return home ready to stir up some home cooking in their historically fashionable black uniforms. They face a favorable matchup against the New York Jets, who lack the playmakers and the quarterbacking ability that allowed the Saints to shred the Panthers' vaunted defense.

Carolina's secondary isn't terribly great, but they certainly have a enough talent to shut down Santonio Holmes and Co., leaving Geno Smith nowhere to go with the ball.

That in turn will put tremendous pressure on the Jets' running game. And while they have the offensive line to get some push up front, Chris Ivory doesn't have the chops to get yards against Luke Kuechly and the Panthers' front seven.

Overall, the Jets make for a perfect rebound game for the Panthers. It gives their defense a chance to regain their confidence and their offense a chance to prove themselves against a tough defense. Only a few Panthers will shine in this game, but those who do will put Carolina's playoff hopes back on track.

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5. Brandon LaFell

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Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports

LaFell has really emerged as reliable No. 2 receiver this season, and he has a favorable matchup this week against Dee Milliner. He may not have the speed and explosiveness of Ted Ginn Jr., but his size and route-running will allow him to consistently get open and move the chains.

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4. Mike Mitchell

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Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports

Mitchell didn't play well against the Saints, but then again no one in the secondary did. Mitchell will have an easier time this week keeping Santonio Holmes from breaking out as well as playing center field and waiting for Smith the throw him a softball.

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3. Greg Olsen

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Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

New York's defensive line has all the talent to get pressure on Cam Newton, meaning he needs to get the ball out quickly to his safety valve if he is to survive. Greg Olsen has been that safety valve the last few games, and he faces a good matchup against the Jets' linebackers. Look for Olsen to get chunk plays down the seam to jolt the Panthers offense.

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2. Cam Newton

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Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports

Newton laid an egg against the Saints, but he might have a better time against the Jets' defense. He certainly has the arm to shred up the Jets' young secondary, but he will have trouble finding time against the Jets' front. Luckily, Newton has reached new levels as an escape artist this season, so he will have a great chance this week to rack up rushing yards and highlight plays.

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1. Charles Johnson

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Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The pass rush wasn't felt by Drew Brees on Sunday, and that was a big reason why the Panthers' secondary got ripped apart. Brees got the ball out far too fast as well, leaving the front four no time to get pressure. The Jets' offensive line and wide receivers aren't on par with New Orleans, leaving Johnson time to get home. Geno Smith is one of the league leaders in turnovers, and Johnson is an expert at the strip-sack -- a matchup the Panthers have to love.


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