Should Panther Fans Worry About the Jets?

Yes, the Jets should not be underestimated.  While New York has been inconsistent this season, their strengths matchup well against Carolina’s main weakness--the offensive line.  Rex Ryan’s complex, aggressive defensive style, Quinton Copled by that scary front four, could pose some real problems for Carolina.  These guys are big, powerful, and explosive. Defensive ROY candidate Sheldon Richardson and Muhammad Wilkerson, who has an intimidating 10 sacks, could make a bad, piecemeal Panther line look worse.  

The Jets have led the league in rushing defense nearly all season. Ironically, Carolina just assumed the lead in a demoralizing loss to the New Orlean Saints.  After last week’s “Beatdown in the Bayou,” this looks like a hollow stat for the Panthers in some ways. The Saints hardly run the ball, and Brees carved up the Cats through the air.  The one dimensional Saints’ offense, put a one time clinic on against the Panthers defense, scoring 21 points in a quarter. .  

The irony doesn’t stop there.  The Panthers’ and Jets’ defenses have a lot of similarities.  Both get after the quarterback by rushing just four, and both have vulnerable secondaries. +Frankie Vittorini  of New York’s Flight 5 spoke on this week's show about New York’s difficulty defending the deep ball.  The problem, unfortunately for the Panthers, is that the big play is not their M-O.  Carolina’s offense has been been consistently adequate this season. Newton has led some diligent fourth quarter winning drives, managing enough points to win.  It hasn’t been explosive.  It hasn’t been flashy, but it has worked.  Carolina, however, has done this without the big play entirely.  The second longest offensive play of the year was a 56 yd rush by Cam Newton.  Carolina has simply found way because Cam has avoided costly mistakes.

How Can Carolina Get It Done?

Carolina’s defense will have to win this game.  The offense could have trouble moving the ball on Ryan’s Jets  We have trouble exploiting the big play and our offensive line can make any pass rush look great. Richardson and Wilkerson could just beat the Panther O-line like a drum this weekend.  Cam will probably be on the run whether he likes it or not.  Cam could flash, but it's doubtful the Panthers' offense will run away with this one.

Carolina’s defense needs to be prideful this week.  Coming off a humiliating performance in New Orleans, the Panthers' defense needs to reestablish their swagger. This game will come down to turnovers and missed opportunities.  Whichever defense establishes consistent pressure, forces punts and turnovers, and even scores some points will win this game.  

I don't expect either teams’ offense to win this game--but they could just lose it.  Let’s just hope we don’t see Wilkerson this happy on Sunday.