The Carolina Panthers will travel to play the Los Angeles Chargers. Heading into the week they have not yet won a game, and play against the Chargers that are an even 1-1 after two very close games. As a team struggling early on, now without their star running back in Christian McCaffrey, will they bounce back? Take a look at what to watch for this weekend.
Young quarterback mistakes?
With news coming out of Tyrod Taylor being out indefinitely after being punctured in the lungs by a pregame shot, rookie Justin Herbert will make his second career start. Last week, despite finding out he would start just minutes before the game, Herbert played a great game. He finished the game with a 66.7% completion percentage while throwing for one touchdown with 311 yards passing and one interception.
The Panthers will have to capitalize on the rookie mistakes made by Herbert. Every rookie has growing pains going through their rookie season, as much as it did not seem like it for Herbert last week. If the veterans for the Panthers can disguise the coverage and confuse the young quarterback, turnovers can be forced.
Carolina Panthers defense
The Panthers have been atrocious on defense. They have given up multiple touchdowns in each of the first two weeks. They have allowed six total rushing touchdowns, three from the Las Vegas Raiders and three from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Expect the Chargers to run the ball through the defense for most of the game led by Austin Ekeler.
As for the passing defense, the Panthers are not doing so great in that area as well. Rasul Douglas had some bright spots the past two weeks for being on the team for less than three weeks. The weak spot in the secondary is Donte Jackson and Juston Burris. Broken coverage and not being in the right position has killed the Panthers defense.
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Can the Carolina Panthers’ offense produce?
The Chargers have one of the best defenses in the league on paper. Christian McCaffrey will be out for 4-6 weeks with a high ankle sprain. The Panthers will thus need to rely more on the pass. Leading the Panthers in receiving yards is Robby Anderson who is fourth in the NFL with 223 yards within the first two weeks. With a pass heavy attack for the next few weeks, DJ Moore needs to step up and be the number one receiver that he is suppose to be. As for the disappointing start to the season for Moore, it is not all his fault. Teddy Bridgewater has not been accurate while throwing his way. Hopefully the chemistry can click this week.
Mike Davis seems to be the shoe in for the starting running back position with McCaffrey out, but will not be the only back for the team. Against the Buccaneers, fans saw the Panthers use Curtis Samuel play as a running back for a play. Samuel has played running back in college. He could be apart of the committee at the position to replace the production missing.
How will the game play out?
Expect the Panthers to go down early against the team with little film on Herbert. As well as having a less talented team, the start will not be to bright. However, the Chargers are notorious for allowing comebacks and losing heartbreaking games. Expect the Panthers to fight their way back into the game in the second half. Ultimately, they should fall short to the Chargers but in a fun, competitive, rollercoaster type game.
Final Score: 31-21 Chargers
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