Former Carolina defensive coordinator Sean McDermott returns to face his former team when the Buffalo Bills visit the Panthers on Sunday. McDermott won his debut as coach of the Bills and will try to improve to 2-0 by beating the team whose defense he led for the past six seasons.
Both teams turned in dominant defensive efforts in Week 1, albeit against weak offenses. The Bills held the New York Jets to 214 total yards in a 21-12 win, while the Panthers allowed 217 yards in a 23-3 victory at San Francisco. “They have an idea. It will be an interesting matchup,” Carolina coach Ron Rivera told reporters of the Bills’ familiarity with the Panthers. “It will be a nice little homecoming. There is a tremendous amount of familiarity.” The Bills have won five of six all-time meetings, including a 24-23 home triumph in the most recent matchup in 2013.
TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Panthers -7. O/U: 43
ABOUT THE BILLS (1-0): Buffalo’s offense runs through LeSean McCoy, who racked up 159 yards from scrimmage in Week 1 - including 110 on the ground. Tyrod Taylor didn’t have to do too much against the Jets, passing for 224 yards and two scores with an interception, but he seems to have a solid rapport with new receiver Jordan Matthews, who had a team-high 61 receiving yards in his Bills debut. The defense allowed only 38 rushing yards against the Jets but will have a taller task facing Cam Newton and rookie all-purpose threat Christian McCaffrey.
ABOUT THE PANTHERS (1-0): Newton only passed for 171 yards in the season opener, but he threw two touchdown passes as he looks to bounce back from a disappointing 2016 campaign. McCaffrey rushed for 47 yards while making a team-high five catches for 38 yards, and he could see an expanded role as the Panthers look to add a wrinkle to their offense to combat the Bills’ familiarity. Carolina’s veteran linebacking corps led by Thomas Davis and Luke Kuechly had a big game against the 49ers.
1. Taylor (1,186) is the Bills’ franchise leader for rushing yards by a quarterback.
2. Panthers TE Greg Olsen has caught a touchdown pass in each of his last two games against the Bills.
3. Matthews has made 10 catches for 152 yards and two touchdowns in his last two contests versus Carolina.
PREDICTION: Panthers 23, Bills 17