Fear­less pre­dic­tion: Pan­thers to start fast

The Charlotte Observer (Sunday) - - Nfl - BY JOUR­DAN RODRIGUE jro­[email protected]­lot­teob­server.com

Five fear­less pre­dic­tions for Sun­day’s Carolina Pan­thers (6-3) game at Detroit (3-6):

1. MO­TOR GOES EARLY IN MO­TOR CITY

Carolina needs to start fast on both sides of the ball, and they will do so. Cam New­ton and the of­fense will score on their first drive, which would be the first time this sea­son they’ve been able to do so in con­sec­u­tive games.

On de­fense, Carolina will feel com­fort­able leav­ing its cor­ner­backs in more one-on-one sit­u­a­tions against a Detroit re­ceiv­ing corps miss­ing Golden Tate. That means they will blitz early to try to dis­rupt the Lions’ of­fen­sive rhythm, and cap­i­tal­ize on a shaky of­fen­sive line.

2. WHEELS DON’T FALL OFF

A first-quar­ter turnover led to a huge mo­men­tum swing in Pitts­burgh, but this week the Pan­thers will win the turnover bat­tle 2-0. I pre­dict a strip­sack by de­fen­sive end Wes Hor­ton, and a fum­ble re­cov­ery by line­backer Luke Kuechly.

3. GREG OLSEN IN THE DRIVER’S SEAT

Tight end Olsen didn’t score a touch­down against Pitts­burgh af­ter scor­ing one in three straight games, so he’s due. He’ll be one of two lead­ing re­ceivers for the Pan­thers, with the other be­ing run­ning back Chris­tian McCaf­frey.

4. PAN­THERS KEEP FOOT ON THE GAS

Carolina av­er­ages a league-worst 1.4 points in the third quar­ter this sea­son. But all-around fixes Sun­day will in­clude a bet­ter third quar­ter, when New­ton will throw a touch­down pass to re­ceiver Cur­tis Sa­muel.

5. ALL ROADS LEAD TO 7-3

Carolina im­proves to 7-3 as the Pan­thers win de­ci­sively, 34-14.

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