Las Vegas Raiders at Carolina Panthers: Game preview and prediction
The Panthers were one of the worst teams in the NFL in terms of stopping the run, giving up 143.5 rushing yards per game. Expect the Raiders to feed Josh Jacobs the ball time and time again in Week 1 to try and expose this weakness.
Although the Panthers tried to fix this issue in the off season, especially with their first round draft pick being Derrick Brown, the Raiders offensive line may be too much for the Panthers, as Brown could surely struggle with his first NFL game being against Pro Bowl talent lineman such as Richie Incognito and Rodney Hudson.
Although the Raiders offense is much improved from last year, it will be a difficult task stopping Christian McCaffrey in Week 1. The back is fresh and should be as fast as ever, and although the Raiders improved their linebacker speed, it still may not be enough to contain McCaffrey.
Week 1 will be a battle between two of the best young running backs in the NFL, and although I believe they will both have big games, I believe that pace at which the Raiders will control the ball will be too much. Las Vegas will have a massive advantage in terms of time on offense, wearing down the Panthers defense to the point where they will be able to open up their offense and score points.
The Panthers will have to rely on Teddy Bridgewater to make plays late in the game, and I am not confident that he and Coach Rhule will be able to make the late game adjustments and calls to defeat the Raiders.