The Denver Broncos get somewhat of a reprieve, at least as it appears on paper sitting here in early summer, in drawing the Carolina Panthers on the schedule in Week 14. However, the Panthers could end up being better than their roster suggests because of the caliber of new head coach Matt Rhule.
Carolina does have some talent on the roster, especially on the defensive side of the ball. This game could be a 'gimme' for Denver, and perhaps as easy as you can say an NFL opponent is. However, there are some aspects with the Panthers to be concerned about.
It starts with the fact that the Broncos have yet another East Coast road game where they've struggled in recent years. That is something Denver will have to figure out for this season because it has quite a few games in the Eastern Standard Time zone.
The other issue facing the Broncos comes from the main focus of the Panthers' offense, and he is the son of a Denver legend. RB Christian McCaffrey is a great player who is a threat as a runner and as a receiver, giving Coach Rhule a very dangerous weapon to scheme around.
The threat that McCaffrey presents can directly attack to the Broncos' biggest defensive weakness — their linebacker corps. Denver will have to have a plan in order to deal with him.
This is a great head-to-head matchup of coaches. The older, great defensive-minded Vic Fangio vs. the younger, innovative offensive-minded Rhule. In the video above, I deep-dive on the unique matchup the Panthers pose to the Broncos. Check it out.