Zielinski: Packers should pummel Panthers


The Packers are coming off two disappointing losses and desperately need a victory on Sunday if they want to remain alive for a playoff spot. Luckily for their sake, they face the Carolina Panthers (2-12), the worst team in the NFL, who have struggled mightily on offense.

The Panthers’ lone bright spot is their defense. They have allowed over 200 passing yards in only five games this season.

Packers quarterback Jordan Love played well in a loss against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week. He completed 74.4% of his passes for 284 yards and two touchdowns to finish with his fourth-highest passer rating of the season.

The Packers, who will be without some of their young, talented receivers, need Love to perform similarly against the Panthers as he did last week. The offense as a whole also must avoid negative plays and mistake-free drives.

Defensively, the Packers’ pass defense has struggled in recent weeks, allowing career performances to Giants QB Tommy DeVito and Bucs QB Baker Mayfield. On Sunday, Darnell Savage and De’Vondre Campbell are out, and the status of cornerback Jaire Alexander is in question. Regardless, the Packers should have no problem limiting Panthers QB Bryce Young.


Young has plenty of potential after going first in the 2023 NFL Draft. But he has looked overwhelmed and doesn’t have the necessary pieces around him to thrive consistently. He has completed 59.4% for 2,359 yards, nine touchdowns and nine interceptions while getting sacked 51 times.

The Packers’ defense is a major storyline. Defensive coordinator Joe Barry’s job is on the line. There is no reason why it should get exposed by Young and Co. on Sunday. This is a game for the Packers’ defense to get back on track and build some confidence.

There is no question the Packers should defeat the Panthers. Even with some of the Packers’ flaws, it is unacceptable if they don’t return from Charlotte with a victory.

Prediction: Packers 31, Panthers 17