Carolina Panthers (0-1) at Buffalo Bills (0-1)
Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET, at Ralph Wilson Stadium, Orchard Park, N.Y. - TV: FOX
*TV announcers: Dick Stockton, Ronde Barber, Kris Budden
*Keys to the game: The Patriots focused on bottling up Bills RB C.J. Spiller, whose 55 total yards last week were his fewest ever in a game in which he has had 20-plus touches. The Panthers debuted a significantly upgraded front seven in Week 1, with rookie DTs Star Lotulelei and Kawaan Short helping clear the way for the strong linebacking corps to rack up tackles and with DEs Charles Johnson and Greg Hardy providing the rush from the edges. Bills rookie QB EJ Manuel was solid in his first career start, and Buffalo's ability to move the ball with consistency will likely fall on his throwing arm again. The Panthers' offense was too conservative last week; look for offensive coordinator Mike Shula to dial up more plays to push the ball downfield. That's when Buffalo's defense must become the difference-maker in taking advantage of the Panthers' offensive line – clearly the most vulnerable unit on the team.
*Matchup to watch – Panthers CB Josh Thomas vs. Bills WR T.J. Graham: Thomas was targeted by Seattle, and was beat on consecutive deep balls in the fourth quarter – one resulting the Seahawks' lone touchdown. Graham has excellent deep speed that Buffalo will look to take advantage of with Stevie Johnson commanding extra attention on the other side of the ball.
*Player spotlight – Panthers RG Chris Scott: The second-year player out of Tennessee makes his first start in place of injured Garry Williams.
*Fast facts: Only 11.6 percent of teams that have started a season 0-2 have gone on to reach the playoffs since 1990. ... Newton has 8,045 passing yards in 33 career games, tied for the fifth-fasted in NFL history to reach the 8,000-yard mark.
WHO WILL WIN AND WHY
The Panthers were able to stuff Seattle's ground game with primarily their front seven last week. If Bills RB C.J. Spiller isn't able to rebound from last week's slow start, too much pressure is placed on rookie QB EJ Manuel to move the offense.
*Our pick: Panthers 20-1
By The Sports Xchange
Publish Date: September 12, 2013 06:32:49 PM
Week 2: Panthers-Bills matchup analysis
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