The Panthers are dinged up on defense and that could make all the difference against the Seahawks on Sunday especially when having to face down the NFL’s leading rusher Marshawn Lynch who took most of the week off to rest. Seattle’s second ranked defense is relatively healthy and that could spell trouble for Carolina QB Cam Newton.
Panthers head coach Ron Rivera gave a vote of confidence to his beleaguered safety Haruki Nakamura by saying he will remain a starter despite giving up the single biggest play in the loss to the Falcons last Sunday. The question is whether he will still be in the lineup against the Cowboys after the bye week.
Running back Jonathan Stewart returns to the Panthers lineup but will the running back help DeAngelo Williams establish a running game good enough so quarterback Cam Newton can open up the playbook? Even if all things go well, the Atlanta Falcons are still a force to be reckoned with in the NFC South not to mention the National Football League.
It’s hard to say it is a must-win game in Week 2 but for the Panthers and Saints, going 0-2 is not an option. Carolina may need it more because it would be two straight losses to a divisional foe. New Orleans simple needs a victory to take their minds off all the other distractions.