I think everybody’s going to be really anxious to see the matchup between the Cleveland Browns and Carolina Panthers. I’m looking forward to that matchup; it’s always exciting when a player, especially a quarterback, changes teams, and then they opener the season against each other.
Jacoby Brissett Gets a Shot
In steps backup quarterback Jacoby Brissett for Cleveland. He will do a great job: he’s big, strong, smart, and sees the field and the defense. Coach Kevin Stefanski will put him in a great position to be successful.
Leaning on the Ground Game
The good thing for Jacoby is we know they have a really good offensive line there. They have two good runners in Kareem Hunt and Nick Chubb, and that they’ll lean heavily on the run game. I look for the Browns to stay ahead of the chains, and put Brissett and that offense in some third and manageable situations that they can convert.
Cleveland Needs Some Early Wins
A lot of the Browns’ first six games are winnable regardless of who’s at quarterback. I think if they can come out of the first quarter of the season 3-1, and then make it to 4-2, they’re going to be ecstatic from an offensive standpoint and overall team standpoint.
Can Baker Stay out of His Own Way?
The Panthers were on a roller coaster ride at the quarterback spot. Now they’re settled in with Baker Mayfield. The big storyline to me is will Baker be able to get out of his own way? We know he’s a talented, talented dude, and when you look back at 2020 when he was healthy and then the first game of 2021, he looked really good.
Christian McCaffrey’s back on offense, and the big thing obviously for him is staying healthy. They’ll lean on him, and the coaching staff will do a great job of managing his workload and staying cognizant of how many touches he has throughout the course of a game, as well as the course of this season.
A Top Defense Returns in Carolina
The Panthers have a really good defense, one that finished second in the NFL in yards allowed last season under coordinator Phil Snow. They have a good front, Shaq Thompson at linebacker and Jeremy Chinn on the back end. Carolina lost Haason Reddick, but Jaycee Horn comes back at corner after missing most of his rookie season.