1. Reunion game: Stop me if youu2019ve heard this before, but new Bills coach Sean McDermott and GM Brandon Beane both came from the Carolina Panthers organization. McDermott should have an intimate knowledge of how the Panthers operate, and it will be especially interesting to see how he attacks quarterback Cam Newton, but the Panthers should be the favorite at home. This wonu2019t be quite the same as Rex Ryanu2019s emotional return to New Jersey, especially since McDermott wasnu2019t fired, but itu2019s along the same lines. Former Panthers players on the Bills include FB Mike Tolbert, CB Leonard Johnson, QB Joe Webb and WR Kaelin Clay.
Buffalo News file photo
2. Howu2019s Camu2019s shoulder? Newton played only one series in the preseason after undergoing surgery in late March to repair a partially torn rotator cuff. Asked in August if that was enough action to be ready, Newton said, "Absolutely. I mean, ain't got no choice.u201d Translation: Heu2019ll be out there whether heu2019s 100 percent or not. Newton completed 14 of 25 passes in the opener for 171 yards, two touchdowns and one interception, though only five completions went to receivers. Will he be ready to sling it if he needs to? (If Newtonu2019s numbers sound familiar u2026 Tyrod Taylor completed 16 of 28 passes Sunday for two touchdowns and one interception, with four completions to receivers. We could be in for an interesting game Sunday.)
3. Hold your judgments: If youu2019re not sure how much to take from the Billsu2019 Week One victory against the lowly Jets, the Panthers are probably feeling the same way. They opened the season at San Francisco, which is coming off a two-win season. The Panthers took care of business in cleaner fashion than the Bills did, winning 23-3, but neither team should feel too high and mighty after their opening win. And whatever you took from Sundayu2019s Bills game u2013 hold your judgments to see if they hold up against a better opponent.
4. Get ready for the Luke Kuechly show: If good linebacking play gets your juices flowing, youu2019re in for a treat this weekend (and, hey, weu2019re not judging). Kuechly is one of the best middle linebackers in the game and was the defensive backbone of Carolinau2019s Super Bowl team two years ago. Pro Football Focus gave Kuechly a 93.1 grade last season, which was actually a drop from his 98.8 in 2015 and 94.6 in 2014. Kuechly ranked third in their tackling efficiency stat last season, third in pass rushing and 28th in receptions allowed per snaps in coverage. Heu2019s fun to watch. He wears No. 59.
5. Which back gets more touches? Fantasy football drafts put a high value on rookie Christian McCaffrey (pictured), who had an exceptional college career at Stanford. But in the Panthersu2019 opener, trusty veteran Jonathan Stewart received 18 carries to McCaffreyu2019s 13, though the rookie was their most-targeted pass catcher. McCaffreyu2019s explosive power will be put on display at some point this season, so the Bills need to make sure theyu2019re not on the wrong end of the highlights.