Week 1 versus Carolina Panthers
The Carolina Panthers surely underwent a post-Super Bowl hangover in 2017.
Finishing with a 6-10 record, the Panthers couldn’t find any headway in a weak NFC South, which led to the NFC Champion Atlanta Falcons running away with the division.
Quarterback Cam Newton was under constant fire, and injuries to key players like linebacker Luke Kuechly didn’t help matters at all.
The once-mighty Panthers defense allowed 402 points last year, which ranked 26th most in the NFL. And even Newton had a down year, finishing the season with a below-average 75.8 passer rating.
Carolina needs a running back, help within the secondary and some protection up front. Doing this via the NFL Draft will help, but there’s a solid possibility the Panthers aren’t vastly improved from a year ago.
Still, Carolina has exceedingly more talent than anything the 49ers will be able to offer. Even after the draft.
While the Niners have a nice home-opener winning streak going, it’s not likely Week 1 kicks off with a victory over head coach Ron Rivera’s squad.