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Week 1 Game Preview: Panthers vs. Jets

Donte Jackson

Game Reset

History: Panthers vs. Jets

  • Carolina is 4-3 all-time against the Jets, including a 3-1 record at home.
  • The Jets are in Carolina's record book as the first opponent the Panthers ever beat in 1995.
  • Current Streak: Panthers W2
  • Last matchup: Carolina defeated New York, 35-27, in the Meadowlands in 2017.
  • Sunday marks the first time playing the Jets in September and first time opening the season against the AFC East.

Notable Connections


  • Quarterback Sam Darnold was drafted by New York and played for the Jets from 2018-20
  • Wide receiver Robby Anderson played for New York from 2016-19
  • Safety Juston Burris, offensive lineman Pat Elflein, linebacker Frankie Luvu and linebacker Julian Stanford all previously played for the Jets.
  • Assistant offensive line coach Tony Sparano Jr. spent time with the Jets in 2014 as an assistant.


Rookie Zach Wilson takes over in New York after an eye-popping senior season at BYU that led to him being drafted second behind Trevor Lawrence in this year's NFL Draft. Wilson went 15-of-20 for 191 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions in two games of preseason action, both wins.

The team signed former Titans first-rounder Corey Davis, a wideout who had 984 receiving yards and five touchdowns last year. They also added Tevin Coleman at running back, a player who had 800 rushing yards for Atlanta back in 2018 before spending the last two years in San Francisco.

The Jets also drafted wide receiver Elijah Moore out of Ole Miss, Moore led all of FBS with 149.1 receiving yards per game in 2020. The offensive line is largely the same as 2020 with the addition of drafted rookie Alijah Vera-Tucker, who is projected to start at left guard.

The defensive front includes standout Quinnen Williams, a defensive tackle who produced 7.0 sacks and two forced fumbles last year. New York also added Sheldon Rankins from the Saints to go with Bryce Huff, Folorunso Fatukasi and John Franklin-Myers along the front.

New York's secondary remains a big question mark. The Jets allowed 275.6 yards per game through the air last year (28th).

Table inside Article
Category (2020 stats) Panthers Jets
Total Yards/Game 349.5 (21st) 279.9 (32nd)
Rushing Yards/Game 106.5 (21st) 105.2 (23rd)
Net Passing Yards/Game 243.0 (18th) 174.8 (31st)
Sacks Allowed 36 (17th) 43 (24th)
Third Down Efficiency 39.0 (25th) 34.0 (32nd)
Points/Game 21.9 (24th) 15.2 (32nd)
Total Yards/Game 360.1 (18th) 387.6 (24th)
Rushing Yards/Game 121.0 (20th) 112.0 (12th)
Passing Yards/Game 239.1 (18th) 275.6 (28th)
Sacks 29 (23rd) 31 (20th)
Third Down Efficiency 49.2 (31st) 44.6 (24th)
Turnover Margin +1 (16th) 0 (17th)
Points Allowed/Game 24.8 (18th) 27.1 (26th)

Season Openers

  • Carolina is 10-16 all-time in season openers and 4-9 when opening the year at home. This marks the fourth straight home opener for the Panthers after playing four straight openers on the road from 2014-17.
  • Sam Darnold will become the 11th different QB to start in Week 1 for Carolina.
  • Christian McCaffrey has the scored the team's first touchdown of the season in each of the last two openers. If he scores first on Sunday, he ties Wesley Walls (1997-99) for the most consecutive opening TDs in franchise history.

Stat Nuggets To Know


  • As of Tuesday afternoon, Carolina's roster ranks as the youngest in the NFL at 25.67 years old per player, per Elias. The Jets are the third-youngest roster at 25.71.
  • With so much change on both teams, only two players of the 44 total that started the last matchup in 2017 are still on the same teams: Carolina's Shaq Thompson and New York's Marcus Maye.
  • From Weeks 11-17 last year, Carolina's defense ranked sixth in total yards allowed (1961), ninth in total points allowed (130) and seventh in sacks per pass attempt (8.5). Eight of the 11 defensive starters from the Week 16 win at Washington are still on the roster.
  • Carolina's projected front seven totaled 31.5 sacks in 2020 in Carolina and on other teams.
  • In the 2021 preseason, the Panthers led the NFL with a turnover margin of +7. The team's eight takeaways (five on defense, three on special teams) were third-highest in the league.


  • Running back Christian McCaffrey returns after playing in just three games in 2020. He has 5,817 scrimmage yards in his first 51 career games, ninth-most in the NFL since 2000, while his 320 receptions are fourth-most by a player in his first 51 games.
  • Wide receiver DJ Moore averaged 18.1 yards per catch in 2020, the most by any player with at least 50 catches.
  • Wide receiver Robby Anderson had 95 catches and 1,096 receiving yards, nearly becoming just the fourth Panther to ever have 100 catches and 1,000 yards in the same season.
  • Through two seasons, defensive end Brian Burns has 16.5 sacks tied for the most in his draft class and second-most by any Panther through two seasons behind Julius Peppers (19.0).
  • Safety Jeremy Chinn led all rookies with 116 tackles last season and was the only player with at least 100 tackles, one sack, one interception, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and a defensive touchdown.

Milestones in Reach

Christian McCaffrey

  • Needs a game with a rushing and receiving TD to pass Minnesota's Chuck Foreman (9) for the most such games in a player's first five seasons in the NFL
  • Needs 192 rushing yards to pass DeShaun Foster (3,336) for fourth in Panthers history
  • Needs five receptions to pass Wesley Walls (324) for fourth in Panthers history
  • Needs six receiving TDs to pass Devin Funchess (21) for fifth in franchise history
  • Needs six scrimmage TDs (rush + receiving) to pass Muhsin Muhammad (50) for fifth and needs 14 scrimmage TDs to pass Cam Newton (58) for second in franchise history
  • Needs 647 scrimmage yards to pass Greg Olsen (6,463) for fifth in Panthers history

DJ Moore

  • Needs nine receptions to pass Muhsin Muhammad (216) for the most receptions in a WR's first four seasons of his career in Carolina

Shaq Thompson

  • Needs 35 tackles to pass Chris Gamble (493) for fifth all time in Panthers history

Donte Jackson

  • Needs five interceptions to pass Richard Marshall/Doug Evans (14) for fifth all-time in franchise history

Brian Burns

  • Needs 4.5 sacks to pass Kris Jenkins (20.5) for seventh among defensive linemen in Panthers history

Jeremy Chinn

  • Needs 42 tackles to pass Will Witherspoon (157) for the most tackles in the first two seasons by a non-middle linebacker.

Carolina is 4-3 all-time against the Jets, featuring a 3-1 record at home and 1-2 mark on the road.

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