Carolina Panthers Are Ready for Showdown with the KC Chiefs

Eric QuackenbushSenior Analyst ISeptember 30, 2008

Week Five of the Panthers' schedule looks a little less intimidating, but the Chiefs are a seemingly worthy opponent, as they took care of the Denver Broncos last Sunday afternoon.

Heading into this matchup, the Panthers are 3-1, and the Chiefs are 1-3.

I have an overall good feeling about where the Panthers are right now—at the beginning of the second quarter of the season—and I don't see why they should have a lot of problems against the Chiefs in Charlotte this weekend.

With injuries at a minimum, Carolina is looking more and more like a formidable opponent. We have a nice array of weapons on offense.

Delhomme has made an incredible comeback from Tommy John surgery and looks as though he never had any elbow problems. As of Sunday, he has completed 60 percent of his passes and accumulated 860 passing yards—and only four weeks into the season! 

Muhsin Muhammad is back in black and blue, and D.J. Hackett is looking like a solid, reliable veteran receiver while Steve Smith is the elusive, speedy, shifty receiver that completes the three-headed-monster receiving threat that the Panthers put on the field.

Stewart and DeAngelo Williams are gelling perfectly as a halfback pairing, combining for a total of 398 rushing yards on the season, along with an average of 3.98 yards per carry and four touchdowns scored by Jonathan Stewart.

The offensive line has been playing tough and doing a bang-up job of creating holes for either Williams or Stewart to slash through.

They've also done a pretty good job of protecting Delhomme from being sacked (nine total sacks allowed), averaging a little over two sacks allowed per game. My main gripe has been the careless penalties (mostly false-starts), but they seem to be working very hard at eliminating those as each week passes.

Julius Peppers has made (in my opinion) a not-so-surprising 180 in his playmaking ability from last year. I am really enjoying seeing flashes of the Julius Peppers from a couple years back, and he too improves his game every week.

He looks a lot faster this year than in past seasons, and his change to right defensive end has really put a spark in his game.

Overall, the defense is playing really well.

The only overall problem I see on defense is, like the offense, a lot of penalties that are needless. If they can iron out a lot of the senseless penalties, this defense will be a lot more intimidating. Because overall the Panthers have a great run-stopping defense, and their ability to defend the passing game has also looked very promising.

On a scale of 0-100, I would rate this team an 85 on the first quarter. That gives them a solid "B."

If this team can improve, in particular on the amount of senseless penalties, it will not only raise their game to another level and make them look scary good, but it will also save them and play to Carolina's benefit against teams who commit a lot of penalties.

This team has that potential to improve themselves, and like any good football player will tell you: "We take what they give us. We need to make their weaknesses our strengths..."

Memorable Quote:

"Keep pounding" -Sam Mills