Week 1 Preview: Carolina Panthers vs Cleveland Browns

The Carolina Panthers host the Cleveland Browns in a Week 1 matchup that will see quarterback Baker Mayfield desperately seek revenge against the team that spurned him. Mayfield was traded to the Panthers from the Browns following Cleveland's acquisition of Deshaun Watson, and he has let it be known he took it a little personally. Consequently, the Panthers are seen as 1.5-point favorites over the Browns.

Mayfield starts this week for the Panthers after winning a prolonged camp competition with fellow 2018 NFL Draft pick Sam Darnold. His departure from Cleveland this offseason came after four up-and-down seasons with the Browns, and he'll look to reestablish himself with a Carolina offense that includes star wide receivers D.J. Moore and Robby Anderson. He'll hope to help the team improve on last year's 29th ranking in points scored, but it'll take cutting down on negative plays to do it; Mayfield has tossed a league-high 56 interceptions since coming into the league and took a sack on 9.3% of his dropbacks last season.

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The Browns won't quite yet get to see if their choosing Watson over Mayfield pays dividends; Watson will miss the first 11 games of the season due to suspension. Instead, Jacoby Brissett will start at quarterback for Cleveland. He'll have an offensive line that Pro Football Focus rated as the second best in the league entering the 2022 season and recent wide receiver acquisition Amari Cooper to help him out. He may not need to score too much anyway, as the Browns sport a defense that allowed the fifth-fewest yards in the league last year and now have an opportunity to chase a quarterback they know very well in Mayfield

The Panthers and Browns face off this Sunday in Week 1 of the NFL regular season.

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