Could ‘Cardiac Cats’ re-emerge vs. the Ravens?
Five fearless predictions for Sunday’s Carolina Panthers home game against Baltimore:
1. DISAPPEARING DEEP BALL
Carolina will struggle to unfurl the deep ball once again, but it’s a calculated move: The Panthers have to play to the quick-strike options to get the ball out of quarterback Cam Newton’s hand faster against a prodigious Ravens pass-rush that had 11 sacks against Tennessee.
2. JAMES BRADBERRY’S REDEMPTION GAME
Carolina Panthers cornerback James Bradberry struggled against Eagles receiver Alshon Jeffrey on Sunday, giving up two big catches early in the game.
Bradberry has seven passes defensed so far this season and has largely been consistent against some of the league’s top receivers. But he doesn’t have an interception yet. This week, he will get his first against Joe Flacco, in coverage against Michael Crabtree.
3. DONTE JACKSON VS. JOHN BROWN
This will be a fun battle between Panthers rookie corner Donte Jackson and speedy, versatile Ravens receiver John Brown, who put up monster numbers last week.
One of Jackson’s best games of the season was when he matched up against the lightning-fast John Ross and played his shorts off. Brown is more consistent than Ross was, so expect fireworks on both sides. I think Brown beats Jackson once, but that’ll be it as the rookie recovers to play his new best game of the year.
4. CURTIS SAMUEL BREAKS OUT
With veteran deep threat Torrey Smith ruled out with a knee injury, second-year receiver Curtis Samuel will have his name called as a weapon on misdirection plays and as a vertical option. Samuel will finish with 80 yards and a touchdown, but no deep catches as Carolina tries to get the ball out quickly.
5. ‘CARDIAC CATS’ DO IT AGAIN
The Panthers find a way to help the Ravens stay in it until the end, but Carolina takes the win, 24-21.