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Panthers vs Lions offensive preview: Panthers need Teddy Throwsevelt

In order to overcome the porous defense, Teddy needs to be a Bull Moose like his namesake

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Carolina Panthers Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

The Carolina Panthers did not put up much of a fight against the division rival Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week. Now they’ll host the Detroit Lions, fresh off a buzzer beating win. While the Panthers offense hasn’t been bad, they’ll need to be better for the team to win. The defense is just that bad.

Panthers offense

Teddy Bridgewater was banged up against the Bucs, but he wasn’t exactly lighting up the field before then. Box score scouts will point to his fantastic completion percentage and two to one touchdown to interception ratio, but he averaged three air yards per completion. This is not exactly “pushing the ball downfield.” I get that the offensive line has been pretty bad, but Teddy still needs to at least give the defense something to think about. Getting one or two bombs to Anderson, Moore, or Samuel will open up the intermediate game where Teddy can thrive.

The reason so much is riding on Teddy Bridgewater is because Christian McCaffrey is once again out with an injury. At this point, winning games is not as important as at least being competitive, but it would still do a lot for this young team’s confidence levels to get one in the W column. With Mike Davis at running back again this week, the hope is Joe Brady and company get back to what worked early in Davis’ tenure: using him in the passing game. When the Panthers were winning games without CMC, Davis would often lead the team in receptions. Using Davis as the outlet would also allow the potent weapons on the outside to threaten the defense vertically.

The Panthers wide outs have been fantastic after the catch this season, which is why the offense has been productive despite not pushing the ball down field consistently. Shout out to Robby Anderson, who is actually top five in the NFL in receiving yards. DJ Moore was the most explosive receiver against the Bucs, but that came at the expense of Curtis Samuel. Joe Brady needs to figure out how to get all three guys going in the same game. That would result in a nearly unstoppable offense, with our without CMC.

Lions defense

The Lions just had a walk-off field goal against Washington where they allowed 27 points to Alex Smith. The front four is not full of recognizable names (Danny Shelton probably being the most familiar name to most fans), and they don’t get much pressure either. The entire Lions team has only notched 13 sacks so far, six of which have come from Romeo Okwara.

The linebackers are led by veteran Jamie Collins. He’s been playing very well through nine games this season, leading the team in tackles while notching a pick, a sack, and two forced fumbles. The other linebackers have been overshadowed by the young Lions secondary.

Third overall pick Jeff Okudah has had his ups and downs this season, but he is undoubtedly a talented player. Safety Tracy Walker likes to fly around and make tackles, so keep an eye out for number 21. He and fellow safety Duron Harmon are also adept at breaking up passes, each notching a handful of passes defended.

Matchup

Teddy is a little banged up, but the Lions just let Alex Smith, he of the one functioning leg, put up 27 points last week. They did a great job of shutting down Washington’s running game, so the majority of that was Smith. If Teddy gets a little more time in the pocket and a little more inclination to push the ball downfield, then there’s no reason the Panthers couldn’t put up a number in the thirties. Which still might not be enough given how the defense has looked lately.