The Carolina Panthers will face the San Francisco 49ers in Week 8 in a game between two teams who have their sights set on the playoffs. Of all of the players taking the field, the Panthers are going to need wide receiver DJ Moore to have a huge performance on Sunday.
Coming into this game, the 49ers are atop the NFC West with a 6-0 record. The only other team in the NFL who has yet to lose a game is the New England Patriots.
Without a doubt, San Francisco has spent the entire week game planning to contain running back Christian McCaffrey. McCaffrey is a defensive coordinator’s worst nightmare, as he’s garnered 923 yards from scrimmage (most among players who haven’t played in Week 8 yet).
With the 49ers keying their focus on the dual-threat running back, Moore is going to have to step up for Carolina’s offense. Ever since Cam Newton has been sidelined with his foot injury, Moore has gradually built a connection with quarterback Kyle Allen.
Over his past two games, the second-year wideout has caught 13 passes for 164 yards from Allen. Altogether, Moore has totaled 33 receptions for 425 yards and a touchdown this season.
On Sunday, the Maryland product will likely draw Richard Sherman in coverage for the majority of the game. That could create some problems for Moore, but Norv Turner will counter that by moving him around in the offense.
Along with Moore, Carolina also has Curtis Samuel and Greg Olsen in their passing attack. Having those two in the offense can help Moore see less attention from the defense.
Through the first seven weeks, the 49ers boast the No. 1 pass defense in the NFL. As a matter of fact, San Francisco has allowed a mere 133.5 passing yards per game.
In light of that, it may be a bit tough for the Panthers to put the ball in the air. Nevertheless, Moore will be vital in Carolina’s effort to be the first team to defeat the 49ers in Week 8.
The duo of Samuel and Moore are capable of stretching the field with the big-play ability. If the Panthers are able to manifest chunk plays, the offense will be put into a perfect position to achieve the upset.
The Panthers are currently five-point underdogs for Sunday’s contest against the 49ers. But the one player who can flip the script is Carolina’s No. 1 receiver, DJ Moore.