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Las Vegas Raiders vs Carolina Panthers - NFL Week 1

Sunday
September 13, 2020
1:00 PM ET

Charlotte, North Carolina
Bank of America Stadium

About the Raiders

Jon Gruden’s 2nd season with the Raiders should yield positive results now that he has 2 draft classes under his belt and hopes to begin the era in Las Vegas with a good start. RB Josh Jacobs put up spectacular numbers as a rookie with 1,150 yards rushing and 7 TD’s in just 13 games. Expect Jacobs to be even better this year as they have one of the best offensive lines in the NFL. OL Trent Brown and Kolton Miller are good run blockers and were partly responsible for Jacobs’s success Brown can drive defenders off their posts in the run game and an anchor to prevent the pocket from collapsing. TE Darren Waller, fresh off a 1,000-yard season as QB Derek Carr’s #1 option in the passing game but isn’t expected to put up similar numbers again with the signing of TE Jason Witten. DE Maxx Crosby had a surprising rookie season as he totaled 10 sacks, 4 forced fumbles, and 14 QB hits. The Raiders will have to key on Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey and limit his yardage after the catch due to his ability to make defenders miss.

About the Panthers

The Matt Rhule era begins in Carolina and he will have his hands full in a very tough and competitive NFC South. Teddy Bridgewater was awarded another opportunity to be a starting QB after his impressive performance for the New Orleans Saints after QB Drew Brees was injured and proved that he had too much talent to be sitting on the sideline or holding a clipboard. RB Christian McCaffrey should put up impressive numbers once again with new offensive coordinator Joe Brady calling the plays. Expect Brady to spread the ball around to the numerous playmakers the Panthers have and allow them to create in space. WR’s D.J. Moore, Curtis Samuel, and Robbie Anderson are all unique weapons with unique skillsets giving Brady many options on how to game plan for opponents. The Panthers have a lot of youth on the defensive side of the ball, but there are also loads of talent and potential. Second-year LB Brian Burns is a fantastic athlete with speed and explosiveness at the point of attack and should assume a leadership role as he figures to be a key piece for the Panthers defense moving forward.

Players to Watch

Clelin Ferrell (Raiders): Look for Ferrell to increase his sack total of 4 ½ from his rookie season as he continues to make strides in his development.

Shaq Thompson (Panthers): Now that Luke Kuechly has retired, Thompson will assume many of his former teammates’responsibilities as he has some huge shoes to fill but possesses the skill set to get the job done.

Impact Rookies

Henry Ruggs (Raiders): This prospect can really fly and has excellent hands. If he gets in a foot race, there aren’t too many DB’s who will be able to hang with him. Ruggs lined up across from Panthers DB Donte Jackson is must-see TV.

Jeremy Chinn (Panthers): This intriguing prospect has the ability to play multiple positions and should provide highlight-reel plays all season long.

Prediction

Time of possession should play a factor as both teams will try to get the running game going with their talented RB’s. Derek Carr commits a costly turnover in the final minute that should seal the deal for the Panthers in a low scoring affair.

Final Score: Raiders 14 / Panthers 20

Daniel I. Outerbridge

Daniel I. Outerbridge

A contributing writer with aspirations and ambitions to become a sports journalist.

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