Mayfield Awaits Former Teammates
The Cleveland Browns vs Carolina Panthers matchup has perhaps the juiciest storyline of Week 1. After a falling out with the Browns, Carolina acquired Baker Mayfield via trade. In front of a Panthers home crowd, Mayfield will start opening weekend against his former team. Grab your popcorn, this will be a game full of trash talk.
Carolina is hoping for a much better season. The Panthers’ defense is full of promising players, and Christian McCaffrey enters the season healthy. Following Deshaun Watson’s 11-game suspension, Jacoby Brissett takes over the reins of Cleveland’s offense.
Both teams are expected to fall short of the playoffs. According to NFL lines, Cleveland has +175 odds to make the postseason while Carolina holds +325 odds.
It would be a major surprise if Brissett can keep the Cleveland Browns in playoff contention. Brissett has been nothing more than mediocre throughout his career.
If the Browns stay competitive, it will be due to elite defense and a great run game. Against Carolina’s weak offensive line, Cleveland’s pass rush could wreak havoc. Myles Garrett will contend for Defensive Player of the Year; he holds +700 odds per the sportsbook. Plus, the secondary matches up well with the Panthers’ receivers.
The challenge will be on offense. How will coach Kevin Stefanski call the game? Expect a conservative game plan, like last season. The Browns will lean on the run, led by Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. Carolina’s front seven against Cleveland’s offensive line looks like the game’s best matchup.
Cleveland is hoping for several players to break out. Wideout Donovan Peoples-Jones can help reshape the offense. Linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah and cornerback Greg Newsome II are two-second year players that can take the defense to the next level.
#28 JOK is just too fast pic.twitter.com/AZbjrEjrRW
— Nate Tice (@Nate_Tice) August 30, 2022
Carolina’s defensive tackles are one of the unit’s weakest positions. Derrick Brown has barely scratched the surface of his massive potential. Matt Ioannidis is solid, but he’s a veteran that has probably reached his peak. The interior defensive line will line up against two excellent guards in Joel Bitonio and Wyatt Teller. To limit Cleveland’s run game, the Panthers’ defensive line needs to play well.
Elsewhere, Carolina’s defense matches up favorably. Linebacker Shaq Thompson and safety Jeremy Chinn will add good run support. Moreover, cornerbacks Jaycee Horn and Donte Jackson should fare well against Cleveland’s receivers. Following his season-ending foot injury in 2021, the Panthers hope to see Horn break out as a lock-down corner.
The offense must dramatically improve. Last season, the Carolina Panthers ranked 29th in points per game (17.9) and 30th in yards per game (298.9). McCaffrey missed most of the season, and Sam Darnold struggled. Heading into Week 1, Mayfield could be a big upgrade at QB and McCaffrey is healthy. However, the offensive line remains a problem. Cleveland’s defense will be a difficult challenge.
Browns vs Panthers Injury Report
Due to season-ending injuries, Cleveland will be without return specialist Jakeem Grant, starting center Nick Harris and backup center Dawson Deaton. In addition, All-Pro right tackle Jack Conklin, defensive tackle Perrion Winfrey and safety Grant Delpit are questionable.
For the Panthers, starting defensive tackle Brown is questionable. Also, Carolina’s QB room looks thin as Darnold and Matt Corral are on the injured reserve list.
Browns vs Panthers Head-to-Head
Since 2010, the Browns and Panthers have faced on three occasions. Cleveland is 2-1 during the stretch and won the last matchup 26-20 in 2018.
Browns vs Panthers Game Information
- Date: Sunday, Sept. 11
- Time: 1 p.m. ET
- Location: Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC
- How to watch Browns vs Panthers?
Browns vs Panthers Live Stream: NFL Game Pass
Browns vs Panthers Betting Lines
Browns vs Panthers Prediction
Cleveland’s offense could be in for a rough day against the Panthers’ young and aggressive defense. Brissett is a mediocre quarterback and could be under pressure from star defensive end Brian Burns, especially if right tackle Conklin doesn’t play.
On the other side, the Browns’ defense presents problems for Carolina. Expect a multi-sack performance for Garrett as he goes against a bad Panthers O-line. In addition, the Browns have a great cornerback duo that could cause problems for D.J. Moore.
Ultimately, this should be a low-scoring game. Neither offense has a huge advantage going into this one. Cleveland’s run game is the most reliable feature of either team. The Browns still have their All-Pro guard duo with Chubb carrying the rock. Cleveland will cover and spoil Mayfield’s revenge game.
“The odds and predictions in the article are based on the time of writing and publication. They may differ as to when the actual event takes place.”