The Carolina Panthers certainly don't get a break during week two of this young 2012 NFL football season. The schedule makers thought it would be fun to have them take on two NFC South opponents in the first two weeks of the regular season. Just for kicks, the Atlanta Falcons will host them in week four with a prime time game against the Super Bowl Champion New York Giants sandwiched in between. To say the next few weeks are critical would be an understatement. The truth is, it is a measuring stick that the Panthers should welcome. If they can somehow weather the first part of this season and come away with a couple of wins, it could build some serious confidence and character as the season progresses. First, however, they need to worry about the powerful New Orleans Saints in week two.
Wounded pride to drive this contest
Both New Orleans and Carolina were embarrassed to say the least in week one losses. The Panthers were horrible against a much improved Tampa Bay Buccaneers squad while the Saints came up short in a comeback attempt against the Washington Redskins. At least New Orleans showed glimpses of the high powered offense that has been their staple over the past several seasons. The Panthers seemed to be playing in quicksand offensively all day long and never got the running game going. Cam Newton also made some poor decisions with the football. Both teams will want to reestablish their dominance going into week two.
A leaky defense to help Carolina out?
If the Carolina Panthers have one thing going for them it is that the New Orleans Saints defense was horrid against the Washington Redskins. They clearly struggled against the mobile Robert Griffin III and was torched all day long by the Skins. If Cam Newton and the gang can fix that offensive line, they should be able to return to form and get moving on the 2012 season. One has to look at the week one offensive performance for the Panthers and see it as a fluke. They were too good in 2011 and are essentially the same team offensively with some improvements. Perhaps the Saints will keep the gates wide open for Cam and company to get some momentum.
A horrible running game?
Something certainly seemed off about the Carolina Panthers and their running game in week one. For some reason the Panthers decided to run from the shotgun all day long against the Bucs and it did not work at all. With the heavy duty fullback Mike Tolbert in the fold, perhaps it is time to put the I-formation back into play here? Whatever the case, the Panthers were horrible on the ground against the Bucs. They amassed ten yards. That sounds like a joke, but it is not. If that happens against the Saints they will be slaughtered. Expect a renewed running game to come to life against the Saints and the Panthers to look a little more familiar.
As a huge Carolina Panthers fan, I think that the Panthers will rebound in a big way. They simply have far too much talent to struggle that badly two weeks in a row. The Saints defense was pretty terrible as well against the Redskins while the Panthers defense looked stout for most of their contest. I expect a huge recovery by the Panthers and a huge victory for their season. They know what is at stake and will respond accordingly.
*Southern is a huge Carolina Panthers fan that is convinced that he will see a Super Bowl Trophy in Charlotte within five years.
More from this contributor:
- Why the First Five Games Are Vital to the Carolina Panthers in 2012: Fan's Opinion
- Three Major Problems for the 2012 Carolina Panthers Entering the Final Preseason Game: Fan's View
- Five Positives for the Carolina Panthers After Beating the New York Jets: 2012 NFL Preseason Fan's Take
- Carolina Panthers Rookie Josh Norman Backing Up His Trash Talking: Fan's Opinion
- Grading the Rookies for the Carolina Panthers After Preseason Week One: Fan's Opinion
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