Optimism is not the name of the game this week, at least as far as the Cat Scratch Reader staff is concerned. The defending Super Bowl runner up Los Angeles Rams present an obvious and heavy challenge for a Carolina Panthers team that is more question than answer at the start of the season.
Do we believe that Rivera’s new defensive scheme and responsibilities will be solid enough in their first real outing to hold back one of the top offenses in the league? Will Aaron Donald eat the Panthers literal lunch money? Read on to find the answers to those questions and how they will translate to a final score on Sunday afternoon.
Bradley Smith, Managing Editor: Rams 24 Panthers 17. It’s Week 1 and anything can happen, but I think the Rams are just too good on both sides of the ball. I think the Panthers will hang tough and make this a close game, but I don’t think they’ll have enough to come out on top.
Evan Leekley, Contributor: Rams 13 Panthers 10. Aaron Donald makes life hell for Cam and the offense, but the defense stifles a hungover Rams offense to keep the score low in a close loss.
Erik Sommers, Lead Voice: Panthers 17 Rams 13. I anticipate two rusty teams that are both strong defensively—grinding it out until the very end. Ultimately, the Panthers prevail on the strength of an overwhelming pass rush, that forces Jared Goff into bad decision mode.
Daniel Belton, Contributor: Rams 31 Panthers 21. Aaron Donald vs the interior offensive line. Sean McVay vs Ron Rivera’s new defense. Cam Newton vs Cam Newton’s shoulder.
Brian Beversluis, Social Media Manager: Panthers 21 Rams 14. I believe the Panthers will surprise us and come out with a victory, partly because McVay has no film on this Panthers defense and they definitely will try to replicate some of what they saw in the Super Bowl from the Patriots. I expect a defensive slug fest where the team who makes the most plays wins, and I’d take a healthy Cam over Jared Goff any day of the week.
Jake Wexler, Contributor: Rams 27 Panthers 26. We don’t know what we are going to get out Cam Newton in Week 1. Pair that with a brand new defensive scheme matching up to a high powered offense and I think the Panthers will struggle early. A valiant comeback effort gives hope for the rest of the way, though.
How about it Panthers fans, who has the best prediction?
This poll is closed
Bradley, Rams 24 Panthers 17
Evan, Rams 13 Panthers 10
Erik, Panthers 17 Rams 13
Daniel, Rams 31 Panthers 21
Brain, Panthers 21 Rams 14
Jake, Rams 27 Panthers 26