The Carolina Panthers will look to get back into the win column after they suffered an embarrassing 51-13 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. In Week 9, the Panthers will host the new-look Tennessee Titans on Sunday.
Last Sunday, Carolina went into their game against the 49ers with the hopes to prove to the world that they were legitimate. Instead, they failed to show up and were exposed as a team that may need some time to become a playoff team once again.
Above all, Kyle Allen easily had the worst outing of his young career as the Panthers’ starting quarterback. Allen completed just 19 of his 37 attempts for 158 yards and three interceptions. Before Week 8, Allen had yet to throw an interception in his first five starts.
While Allen mightily struggled, Christian McCaffrey continued to etch his name in the early-season MVP race. The versatile running back totaled 155 yards from scrimmage and scored the team’s lone touchdown.
As for the Titans, they have looked vastly different in the past two weeks with Ryan Tannehill as their quarterback. Of course, they still rely on Derrick Henry to be effective in the running game as well.
Even with that being said, here are four reasons why the Panthers will defeat the Titans in Week 9.
4. The Panthers secondary can slow down the Tannehill train
While the Panthers’ run defense has begun to falter, their pass defense has been extremely consistent. Over the first eight weeks, Carolina has only allowed 215.1 passing yards per game (fifth-fewest in the NFL).
As mentioned above, Tennessee’s offense has been given a much-needed jolt with Tannehill as the team’s starting quarterback. In his two starts for the Titans, the veteran signal-caller has completed nearly 71 percent of his passes for 505 yards, five touchdowns, and one interception.
This week, the Panthers’ secondary will end Tannehill’s streak of notable performances. Carolina is tied for the second-most interceptions in the NFL with 10 of them.
3. Carolina is motivated to avenge their loss from Week 8
When you are beaten down like the Panthers were in Week 8, the players would love to immediately play another game to forget about the loss. Unfortunately, Carolina had to be reminded of the loss throughout the week of practice.
Those types of losses can either be a season-killer or it could provide a wake-up call for a team. In this instance, Ron Rivera is undoubtedly using the team’s 38-point defeat from Week 8 as a form of motivation in practice.
After having to deal with the criticism in practice, the Panthers will finally get a chance to avenge their loss on Sunday. This will help Carolina take control of the game early.
2. The Panthers’ pass rush will be relentless
Over the course of the offseason, Carolina did a remarkable job bolstering their pass rush in free agency and the draft. Altogether, the team signed Gerald McCoy and Bruce Irvin while using their first-round pick on Brian Burns.
As a result, the Panthers are tied with the 49ers for the second-most sacks in the NFL with 30 of them. However, unlike San Francisco, Carolina has yet to play its game in Week 9.
The Panthers’ pass rush has combined for 10 sacks in their past two games and will have their sights on continuing their momentum against the Titans. Expect to see plenty of sack celebrations from Burns, Irvin, and company.
1. Christian McCaffrey
When speaking about Christian McCaffrey, all you have to do is write out his name and opposing defensive coordinators will have goosebumps on their arms. Regardless of what defense is thrown at him, no one has been able to slow down McCaffrey this season.
Currently, the Panthers’ dual-threat back has garnered 1,078 yards from scrimmage and 10 total touchdowns already. There’s no doubt that McCaffery should be considered as a candidate to win the NFL’s MVP award.
Of all of the running backs in the NFL who can run and catch the ball, none do it more efficiently and effectively as McCaffrey. The Titans will be the next team to get a shot at slowing down the NFL’s most dangerous running back in Week 9.
There’s a good chance that Tennessee comes out of this game with no answers to stopping McCaffey; just like the other six teams that he’s faced in 2019.