What are the key matchups between the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers?
Since Week 1, I have taken a look at each critical individual matchups the Denver Broncos needed to win to come out of each game with a victory. Last week the Broncos played a tough contest against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium.
The Broncos played an inspired game and came away just short of pulling off the upset against the Super Bowl champions.
The matchup to watch last week was between the quarterbacks Drew Lock and Patrick Mahomes. Lock made some strides but was unable to outduel the Super Bowl MVP.
Though the loss put a damper on the team’s playoff chances, there is still plenty to watch for in the final four weeks.
The Broncos have some wonderful cornerstone pieces they are building around, and this matchup can provide some insight into how the team builds around them in 2021.
Throughout the season, I’ll continue to break down key individual matchups each week that are critical to a Broncos win.
This week, the Broncos face-off with the NFC South bottom-dweller Carolina Panthers on the road. The Panthers are fresh off a bye week and a one-point loss to the Minnesota Vikings the week before.
Like the Broncos, the Panthers come in at 4-8. Similar to the Broncos, the Panthers are rebuilding after the dissolve of their Super Bowl 50 team.
The Panthers have talent on their roster, but the average fan may not know who the players are. If the Broncos want to get back on the winning track, they’ll need to study up, as head coach Matt Rhule makes his money of being a solid defensive mind.
The Panthers have a solid foundation behind all-world running back Christian McCaffery (out this week) and quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. Though Bridgewater may not be a long-term fixture, he is solid and young enough that the Panthers can continue to build their team, so they do not need to reach for a quarterback elsewhere.
The Panthers’ defense features a lot of young and talented players. Overall, the Panthers’ defense has shown to be a solid group with a lot of potentials.
With a win Sunday, the Broncos can look to gain some momentum over the final four weeks of the season. Additionally, the team can continue to gel as it heads into the 2021 campaign.
So, who needs to play well for the Broncos to win this week?
This week, I look at who must win their individual matchups to ensure the Broncos win against the Panthers.
Matchups: Noah Fant against Jeremy Chinn
As a Broncos fan, you may see Jeremy Chinn’s style and be reminded of a famous Broncos safety.bChinn is the nephew of Hall of Fame safety Steve Atwater, formerly of the Denver Broncos.
Like his uncle, Chinn is a physical specimen who makes plays all over the field.
In his last outing, per Pro Football Reference, Chinn is the first player to have a game with more than 10 tackles and two or more touchdowns. His effort won him the NFL’s award for Rookie of the Week.
Chinn plays with speed and a keen awareness to make plays all over the place.
Chinn’s ability to physically match Noah Fant. Both are bigger fast athletes with the ability to win at the catch point.
Fant’s ability to maneuver within the route will be key for the Broncos to take advantage of the Panthers’ pass defense.
Even though Chinn is a star in the making, at this point, Fant is the better player and should provide Lock with a playmaker when the team needs a big play.
Though the week’s focus was placed on Jerry Jeudy’s lack of targets, look for Lock to continue to go, Fant when he has single coverage.