Week 1 of the season left many in Panther Nation in a bevy of emotions. From anger, to regret, to disappointment... to just down right heart ache as many a men cried themselves to sleep late Sunday night, but I say cry no more. Simply look at this weeks bold prediction and look forward to Week 2 of the Carolina Panthers 2013 campaign as I predict this Sunday having a much different feel.
A little info on Buffalo's Offense (Or Lack there of)
Sure on first glance it looks as though the Bills almost pulled over an upset on the heralded Patriots but a deeper look into the game reveals how the Bills came about their 21 points last Sunday.
Turnovers: The New England Patriots gave up 3 turnovers last Sunday and 2 of these led to 14 points for the Bills. The first came in the 2nd quarter as S. Ridley tripped over his own two feet to give the Bills a 74 yard return for a touchdown. Watch Here. The second was also a gimme as J. Rodgers intercepted the ball giving the Bills the ball at NE 37 yard line. This lead to E. Manuels only highlight of the night as 2 plays later TD Bills. Watch Here. The last turnover was a fumble by T. Brady at the Bills goal line that took 3 if not 7 points away from New England. Watch Here. All in all the Buffalo Bills scored 14 of there 21 points off turnovers.
THE POINT: Take care of the football this week and the Bills will have little chance of scoring more then 10 points.
Drives/T.O.P: The Carolina Panthers and Seattle Seahawks split TOP this past Sunday (Car- 29:46, Sea-30:14) but the tale of the Bills is a different story. The Buffalo Bills TOP against New England was a dismal 22:17 compared to New England's 37:43. Lets dig a little deeper shall we? The Bills only had 1 drive that lasted longer then 3 mins or over 40 yards! An impressive 11 play 80 year drive that took 3:57. The rest of the game was littered with 3 and outs. Click here for drive chart.
THE POINT: Everyone was talking about the lack of deep ball and lack of offense in our game this past Sunday, this was due in part to only having three 2nd half possessions and Seattle eating big chunks of the clock on 3rd and 4th quarter drives. With the Bills having so many three and outs, along with little TOP against the Pats I suspect this number will only get worse against a better defense in Carolina. This will lead to many more plays being run by the offense thus more chances for Cam and Co.
EJ Manuel's plays right into Carolina's strength's: I have watched the Buf vs. Pats game 2 times and I can say with confidence if left in the pocket with no pressure that he will find the right guy. Having said that ,he turns into the second coming J. Clausen when he even senses pressure. He is unable to complete even a 5 yard pass 40% of the time when he senses any pressure. His mechanics break down and he becomes Mr Happy Feet with the football going anywhere and everywhere. New England got some pressure to EJ ,but not anywhere close to what he will feel when he takes the call this Sunday.
THE POINT: I feel confident saying the Panthers D will force 2 to 3 turnovers on Sunday.
The Bills RUN game looks a lot like us last year: When Cam would line up in shotgun, only to stick the ball into one of RB's stomach resulting in a pathetic running game last year that looked as though we had called 15 HB Draws a game. Well, this is the Bills run game in a nutshell, and they even had a little success against the Pats with this scheme.
THE POINT: Carolina's D is one that is far above the Pats and have proven through preseason and week 1 that running on the Panthers is going to be difficult for most if not all teams in the league. I see the Panthers blowing up the backfield while racking up the TFL's
Bills "D" is good but not great and not even close to Seattle: While the Panthers did well passing the ball its hard to argue with only 125 yards through the air. The Bills will be without their 1st and 3rd string CB's due to injury and this will free up our weak WR core. The Pats also rushed for 147 yards on only 23 attempts (6.1 YPA) This is due in large part to the Bills not being disciplined. I noticed defensive ends rushing down the line only to have the play cutback outside for a big gain. Simply put they are thin in the secondary due to injury and average at best up front.
THE POINT: Look for the Panthers to have success through the air due to injuries on the Bills side of the ball and the simple fact that going from the Seahawks to the Bills will always feel easier. If we can replicate what the Pats did on the ground then Buffalo is in for a long game. Cam should have a 200-300 yard passing game with D. Williams getting his first 100 yard game of the season.
Bills are predictable giving Carolina the chance for the BIG PLAY: Go ahead and spend the time with a note pad and tally up how many times the Bills blitzed on 3rd and short/med/long is a lot (72% of the time that the Bills went aggressive on 3rd down) this will allow a streak route or perhaps a screen play.
THE POINT: Don't be surprised to see Cam throw a bomb on the Bills this week or (mark my words, cross my heart...) the Panthers throw a screen pass that goes the distance .
Panthers 31-7 in a dominating victory. Simply put, if you watch the video, there is not much to like about the Bills, (no pun intended) but the facts point to Carolina coming out on top in every aspect of the game and dominating on all sides of the ball. Don't hold your breath, but we could be looking at a blowout this Sunday, or I could be eating my words by 4:30 EST........
Panther: NUT, FAN, and BLOGGER
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