Photo credit: Don Juan Moore / Getty Images Sport
Author: Jon Kuzma
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One of the best games this weekend is the NFC South match up between the Carolina Panthers and Atlanta Falcons. Carolina comes into the contest as the favorite with a 5-3 record on the year while Atlanta enters the game with a 4-3 record. Maybe the biggest story of this gridiron battle though is the fact that Carolina’s offense has to find a way to survive without Kevin Benjamin in the line up. Benjamin was traded to the Buffalo Bills for a 3rd and 7th round draft pick which will be used this off-season but the Panthers need this guy for the second half of the regular season. This football team has battled all the way to a 5-3 record and to take away Cam Newton’s best wide receiver is definitely concerning. Obviously the picks acquired for Benjamin will help Carolina in the future but this team was looking the best they’ve looked since they went to the Super Bowl in 2016. It’s hard to believe that this roster has enough to overcome the loss of Kelvin Benjamin because he opened up a lot in the passing game. Which allowed Newton to hit Christian McCaffrey on swing passes out of the backfield. Clearly it will be on Devin Funchess and McCaffrey to make up for that lack of production Benjamin leaves behind. If Curtis Samuel can start to make his presence felt too then that’s going to a huge uplift for this franchise down the stretch. There’s definitely hope and you can see why the Panthers felt now is the time to unload one of their best players. It just seems like Carolina would’ve gotten such big returns by keeping Benjamin on their team as a part of an emerging offense in the NFC. Sunday we will get a glimpse whether or not the Panthers can survive without the 6’5 243 pound Benjamin over-matching defenders. Game day is when you really feel the loss of such a key player.
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