Getting Defensive - Buffalo Bills Edition
Some fans are already calling this Sunday's game in Buffalo a must win. While I am not willing to go that far, I can agree that going into week three against the Giants with an 0-2 record is not an appetizing proposition.
The Panthers do need this win in a bad way. Here is how the the Panthers defense can help assure it....
Bring the Blitz - Buffalo Rookie QB EJ Manuel had a solid showing against the New England Patriots last week. This week, he faces a much tougher Panthers defense. Manuel posted an impressive 106 QB rating. But when he was blitzed, Manuel's QB rating plummeted to a 63. The Panthers must confuse and frustrate this rookie with creative blitz packages early and often.
Get Turnovers - One of the most disappointing things last week was losing the turnover battle. The Panthers offense needs more time to find its rhythm and the defense must provide it for them. If the Panthers do blitz often, I fully expect to see a Josh Norman interception in this game. Also, Buffalo running back CJ Spiller tends to run with the ball unprotected, a likely turnover target for the Panthers dominant linebackers.
Clog the Middle - While CJ Spiller had the majority of carries, running back Fred Jackson was most effective against the Patriots. Jackson is not an outside runner. In fact, all of his 13 rushing attempts came between the tackles and averaged 5.2 yards per carry. Panthers defensive tackle Star Lotulelei had an outstanding day clogging the middle against the rushing attack of the Seahawks, I expect him to have an even better day against the Bills.
Target Brown - Bills left guard Colin Brown had a rough outing against the Patriots. Brown was responsible for 3 hurries and 1 hit on EJ Manuel. Brown also struggled in the Bills rushing game. The Panthers will keep the pressure on Brown with stunts and blitzes and exploit him as the weakest link in the Bills line.