|Cam Newton passed all over the Cardinals in week 1.|
2. What should Packers fans really be concerned about against the Panthers? The only way the Panthers can beat the Packers is to play keep away. They have the runnings backs to do it in Deangelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart. In 2009, both Williams and Stewart ran for over 1000 yards. I know Mark Ingram didn't do much against the defense last week, but the Packers D had issues with the run in the preseason. I'm concerned that a more developed running game like the one the Panthers possess will be able to beat up on the Packers front 7 like Joseph Addai and Beanie Wells did in the preseason. My nightmare for this game is the Panthers running the ball 40 times for 200+ yards and winning the time of possession battle by a 2-1 margin.
3. What is the wildcard for the Panthers in this game? Darren Sproles showed us that kick coverage is still a huge issue for the Packers with his kick and punt returns last week. He ran one back for a TD and averaged over 40 yards a return on 4 total returns. Armanti Edwards is the Panthers version of Sproles. Edwards is a college QB turned NFL WR/PR. Some of you might remember him as the guy who led FCS school Appalacian State to a victory over then 5th ranked Michigan in 2007. Last week was his first chance to return kicks in a real NFL game. I'm guessing Shawn Slocum's kick coverage will make him look like he's been doing it for years.
4. How will the Packers beat the Panthers? The Packers will take to the air once again. The Panthers are very thin in the secondary and I expect the Packers offense to be able to pass at will. I'll be honest. Chris Gamble is the only name I knew out of the Panthers secondary before I looked at their depth chart. Their other starting CB is 5'8" Captain Munnerlyn, a 2009 7th round draft pick and their safeties are nothing to write home about. I'm guessing Aaron Rodgers completes passes to at least 8 different guys and I'm predicting a stat line in the range of 20-27 for 325 and 3 TDs.
On a side note, I'm confused by the Packers special teams. The KR/PR game seems much improved with a legit returner. Slocum turned Tim Masthay into a great all around punter (other than that line drive week 1). So, why are the coverage teams so horrid? Is it all on coaching or does it have more to do with players not doing their jobs on the coverage teams? Can it be quickly fixed with a coaching change? Here's hoping the biggest problem (and the only real one I see right now) the Packers have doesn't end up becoming their downfall. GO PACK GO!