Colin E. Braley/Associated Press
Jamaal Charles vs. Panthers run defense
Sunday’s game will be a test for Jamaal Charles when he goes up against Carolina’s run defense, which finished second in the league in rushing yards allowed last season. Panthers linebackers Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis each had 10 tackles for a loss last year and were also the top two players on the team in tackles.
Expect the Chiefs to make Charles attack the outside more, increasing his chances for more yards while trying to avoid Kuechly and Davis.
Jerricho Cotchery and Kelvin Benjamin vs. Chiefs secondary
A.J. Green exposed the Chiefs with his 53-yard reception last week. Will the Chiefs let Jerricho Cotchery and rookie Kelvin Benjamin do the same thing, or will they learn from their mistakes? With Berry out, backup safety Daniel Sorensen has another chance to make up for his mishaps.
The most important thing for Sorensen is to watch the play develop carefully and expect the deep pass. If he can do that, it will help Kansas City's pass defense, making it less likely for Newton to connect on a deep pass.
Chiefs pass-rushers vs. Cam Newton
Newton is well known for taking care of the football while providing a Mike Vick-like style of play at quarterback for the Panthers. Newton led all quarterbacks in rushing yards with 585 and tied for first in touchdowns with six in 2013. Newton will have to put up with Kansas City’s speedy pass rush—which consists of outside linebackers Tamba Hali, Justin Houston and Dee Ford—and watch out for additional pressure from nose tackle Dontari Poe.
Newton might have a hard time finding space and getting into the open field when he wants to run because of Kansas City’s pass rush.
Chiefs’ X-factor of the week: Knile Davis
As a rookie last season, Knile Davis made a big play on special teams when he took a kick return back 109 yards for a touchdown in the preseason. He took a kick return back for a touchdown during the regular season against Denver when he went 108 yards, shattering a franchise record for longest play in Chiefs history.
Davis showcased his breakaway speed on special teams and a little bit on offense last year. It would be nice to see Davis get some touches after getting only five last week, four of them on offense. He has the ability to be the fastest out of all 22 players on the field, making it hard for defenders to get him from behind. If he solves his fumbling woes, he will be a three-dimensional threat.