The Carolina Panthers face off against the New York Jets on Sunday for their season opener. It should be a solid game, as both franchises are on the upswing of a rebuild. Neither of these teams is likely to make a playoff appearance, but for the Panthers, they could prove to be much better than anticipated. The front office has done a great job of building a young roster, all they need to do is execute.

Their matchup against the Jets is a favorable one. The Panthers have a better roster on paper, which bodes well for their chances on Sunday. However, this won't be a walk in the park, as New York is hungry to prove themselves. This one could come down to the wire, but the Panthers are the favorites to win this matchup.

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The defense is very young in Carolina. Even so, they are a talented group and could be in store for a dominant performance in Week 1. Christian McCaffrey comes back from injury and looks to take back the throne as one of the best running backs in the league. The Panthers have a solid receiving core, but a rookie could stand out right away. Lastly, the Jets don't have the best defense, which means Sam Darnold could be in for a big game. With that said, here are four bold predictions for the Panthers' Week 1 matchup against the Jets.

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4. Panthers defense gets off to a hot start

New York should be a better team than last year with Robert Saleh as the head coach. However, the Jets have a young group that could be in for a rude awakening against this Panthers defense. New York's offensive line has been less than impressive throughout the preseason, and Zach Wilson is a rookie quarterback making his debut. Look for the Panthers to pressure Wilson often as they hope to rattle the young quarterback.

3. Christian McCaffrey does Christian McCaffrey things

It was a frustrating season for Christian McCaffrey last year, but he's back in the lineup and seems healthy. He's one of the most electric running backs in the league and should be on full display on Sunday. The Panthers' offense starts and ends with CMC, so look for him to play a featured role against the Jets. New York's defense isn't terrible by any means, but McCaffrey has the ability to exploit their weaknesses. Carolina will utilize McCaffrey as often as possible in this game.

2. Terrace Marshall Jr. makes a thrilling debut

Terrace Marshall Jr. has looked fantastic throughout training camp and the preseason. The Panthers suddenly have three solid wide receivers on their offense which is huge for Sam Darnold moving forward. New York will likely have all of their attention on Christian McCaffrey, DJ Moore, and Robby Anderson, leaving an opportunity for Terrace Marshall Jr. to have an exciting NFL debut.

1. Sam Darnold looks like a franchise quarterback

His first game with the Panthers is against his former team. Sam Darnold is in line to have a revenge game against the New York Jets. It's been wonky so far, but Darnold is still young enough to carve out a solid career with the Panthers. He has a superstar running back in the backfield, a trio of solid receivers, and a stout offensive line the front office has invested in. Look for Darnold to light it up on Sunday as he could be in for a huge performance.