NFL Betting: Important Match Ups in Panthers vs Bills Game
The Panthers are gearing up for their first pre season game in what should be a hard hitting action packed game surely to be enjoyed by NFL Betting fans. Carolina will be facing the Buffalo Bills on August 14th at the Ralph Wilson Stadium in up state New York. Carolina will officially open up their preseason slate this Friday night, traveling to Buffalo to take on Rex Ryan’s new-look Bills. After months of speculation, draft previews, free-agency decisions, OTAs, workouts and training camps, we finally will get to see the Panthers actually take the field and play some football.
— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) August 13, 2015
Of course, wins and losses mean very little in preseason. Often, good teams do poorly in the preseason thanks to resting their starters, while bad teams do well, as they’re forced to play their starters for longer periods of time to solve training camp battles. With this said and after all the moves that have been made during the off season just adding up to the hype of football we count down three match ups to take into account in Friday’s game.
WR Devin Funchess vs. CB Ronald Darby
This first match up is a battle of second-round draft picks, as Carolina’s new receiving option goes head-to-head with Buffalo’s new piece in the secondary. Funchess has a significant height advantage, towering five inches over the 5’11” Darby, which should give Newton and Derek Anderson a tempting target. Don’t count out Darby if the two go head-to-head, however. Funchess should have trouble separating from the speed of Darby. He’s going to have to use his power and size advantage to muscle his way past Darby to make his receptions.
Funchess was surprisingly listed as a third-string receiver on the initial depth chart, but it’s important to remember that the first chart is unofficial, put together by the PR staff rather than the coaching staff. Funchess has been working with the first team throughout training camp and should get a good, long look on Friday night.
Darby normally wouldn’t be starting. The Bills have a strong defense with excellent cornerbacks in Leodis McKelvin and Stephon Gilmore, as well as a solid nickelback in Nickell Robey. McKelvin’s continued recovery from injury, however, keeps Darby firmly in the limelight here. He might be matched up more often against Carolina’s speedier players like Corey Brown and Ted Ginn, but hopefully we’ll get to see the two second-rounders go head-to-head a few times. One or both of them could be future stars in the league, and it would be nice to see them battling each other for the first time.
Carolina’s Offensive Tackles vs. Buffalo’s Edge-Rushers
Buffalo nearly made the playoffs last season on the back of its defense. The Bills led the NFL with 54 sacks last season, thanks to the play of Mario Williams, Jerry Hughes and Marcell Dareus—all of whom had double-digit sacks. The Panthers, on the other hand, had significant issues keeping Newton and Anderson upright last season. They gave up 42 sacks—not the worst in the league, but firmly in the bottom half.
On the left side, free-agent pickup Michael Oher, yes the player who inspired “The Blind Side” and Nate Chandler will find themselves tasked with stopping Hughes, Michael Buchanan and Manny Lawson, not an easy task by far. On the right side, last year’s surprise Mike Remmers and fourth-round pick Daryl Williams will have to contend with Mario Williams, the best edge-rusher on the team. In none of these matchups do the Panthers come out on top.
LB Shaq Thompson vs. TE MarQueis Gray
The Bills are stuck in the middle of a full-on backup tight end battle behind Charles Clary. MaQueisGray is battling with rookie Nick O’Leary and Matthew Mulligan for the most reps at that second tight end position. Normally, that’s not a big deal, but Buffalo’s new offensive coordinator Greg Roman uses his tight ends early and often. So you’ll probably see Buffalo trying to figure out who complements Clay the best for its 2015 offense.
Now for the Panthers enter first-round pick Shaq Thompson. Thompson was a hybrid linebacker and safety in college, so if there’s one thing he’s fully capable of doing, it’s covering tight ends. He’s been limited during training camp thanks to a hamstring injury, but he’s back and looking good at the moment. If there are no significant setbacks between now and game time on Friday, we should see a lot of Thompson against Buffalo. After all, it’s not like the veteran Thomas Davis needs a lot of reps.
Buffalo should be going through its tight end battle early and often, which means Thompson will get tested immediately. It will be a chance for Panthers fans to see how their first-round pick handles what should be a decently heavy workload.
Espn.go.com: http://espn.go.com/blog/nfcsouth/post/_/id/61344/panthers-rookie-spotlight-wr-devin-funchess-still-trying-to-fit in