The Bengals are on the road to Charlotte to face the Panthers. They are 2-0, and can gain some breathing room in the AFC North with a win. Meanwhile, the Panthers are coming off a loss to Atlanta and will be looking to keep pace with the rest of the NFC South. Let’s take a closer look to each team’s strengths and weaknesses before we predict the Bengals’ victory.
Carolina will be led by Ron Rivera, the fourth head coach in Panthers history. He is a two time AP NFL Coaches of the Year with an overall record of 68-52-1. Rivera will not be able to get the Bengals defense to stop the Vikings but he will try his best to end their losing streak. Rain is expected to fall in the mid 80s at kickoff.
Speaking of injuries, the Panthers will have a few key personnel changes to deal with. After surgery, Joe Mixon, the running back, will be out for several weeks and will likely be replaced with Gio Bernard. Additionally, the Bengals will be without starting center Billy Price. There’s a possibility that a backup runningback will step in and play a crucial role.
Both teams are full of young talent. There are a few key players for the Bengals that could make a difference in this game. In the past two weeks, defensive tackle Jerome Bates III recorded his first career interception. In addition to these key players, the Panthers also have a solid defensive line. And this defense has a strong front seven, which should make for a great game.
Carolina has been vulnerable against the Bengals’ run game. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, ran for 69 yards on 15 carries in Week 1. The Panthers are an underdog, but don’t discount the Bengals just yet. They’ll be better prepared to face the Panthers if they can play their game smartly. They’ll be able keep the ball in the final.
Stafford has been a poor quarterback in recent weeks. His passer rating is just under 50 percent, the worst in six games. Jones has been one of the Bengals’ top receivers for four seasons. He had three receptions of 50 yards and surpassed 1,000 yards receiving for the season on Sunday. The 65,000-seat stadium was already about half-empty when the game kicked off. Although the Bengals had sold 47,732 tickets, many were not claimed.