The NY Jets will kick off their 2021 season this Sunday in a road matchup against the Carolina Panthers. The much-anticipated matchup will feature the debut of Zach Wilson and a potential revenge narrative for new Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold.
Fresh off a 2-14 season a year ago, the Jets will be looking to turn their fortunes around after an offseason of overhaul. A new coaching staff is in place as the Robert Saleh era will officially get underway this Sunday.
Alongside Saleh will be notable offseason additions such as Corey Davis, Elijah Moore, and Alijah Vera-Tucker, all of whom will be making their Jets debuts.
As for the Panthers, they're coming off a 5-11 season in 2020 and are looking for better results in year two of the Matt Rhule era. With a new quarterback in Darnold and promising young talent on both sides of the ball, there is a renewed sense of optimism in Carolina.
But which team might come out on top in this Week 1 matchup?
NY Jets vs. Panthers Odds Week 1
According to WynnBet, the Panthers are the 5.0-point favorites at home over the Jets. The Panthers' moneyline for the game is currently set at -240 while the Jets are the underdogs at +190.
The total over/under for the game is set at 45.0 points.
NY Jets vs. Panthers Prediction Week 1
This is one of the most highly-anticipated matchups on both teams' schedules — quite the way to kick off the 2021 season. This game will likely come down to a battle of the trenches.
The Panthers have one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL on paper and they'll also be without starting right guard John Miller. If the Jets could pressure Darnold and force him to make mistakes, they could come out on top.
They'll need to get pressure quick, though, because Carolina's receivers should have no problem picking apart an inexperienced Jets secondary if given the time.
If the Jets can limit the Panthers in the air, they might win this game. But without Carl Lawson, the pass-rush could be a bigger issue than most realize.
I'll predict a 24-17 Panthers victory in Week 1 with Zach Wilson throwing his first touchdown pass in defeat. The Jets' young linebackers and cornerbacks just make too many mistakes and Gang Green falls short.