Last year’s matchup between the Detroit Lions and Carolina Panthers produced some permanent scars for Lions fans. As the franchise was turning itself around and making a serious playoff push, they ran into a wall in Carolina despite being three-point favorites on the road. The Panthers proceeded to hang 320 rushing yards on Detroit, while Sam Darnold looked like an elite quarterback, averaging 11.4 yards per pass attempt.
So some Lions fans are understandably a bit nervous facing off against the Panthers as now 10-point favorites.
But, rest assured, this Panthers team is nothing like the one Detroit faced in December. They’ve got an entirely new coaching staff, a new rookie quarterback, and a rushing attack that has barely gotten off the ground.
On Thursday evening, we chatted with Alex Zietlow of the Charlotte Observer, who reassured us that Lions fans have very little to fear this Sunday.
“There is no chance, no conceivable chance that the Panthers will outrun the Lions in Week 5,” Zietlow said. “I say that for a variety of reasons. This is a completely different offense. (Head coach) Frank Reich’s philosophy is pretty balanced. Honestly, the commitment to establishing the run can kind of be overbearing at times.”
Thus far, the Panthers have averaged just 4.0 yards per carry, with lead back Miles Sanders tallying just 158 yards on 54 carries (2.9 YPC).
Other topics on this week’s First Byte preview podcast include:
- What rookie QB Bryce Young does well and struggles with (5:30 timestamp)
- Offensive line issues in Carolina? (10:30)
- What weapons does Bryce Young have outside of Adam Thielen? (14:00)
- How disruptive can Brian Burns be—and who else is dangerous on the defensive line? (21:00)
- Frankie Luvu, the secret weapon of the Panthers defense (24:00)
- Is Panthers run defense better than the stats suggest? (26:15)
- Carolina’s beat-up secondary (28:45)
- PREDICTIONS! (35:00)
Check out the whole podcast below, and you can always watch the replay of the show on our Twitch page.