CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The NFL has officially returned, and with that comes limitless predictions and hopes for all 32 teams to make it Super Bowl LIV.

As for the Carolina Panthers, they enter the 2019 season with a little bit of uncertainty. Is Cam Newton fully healthy (his left foot and his throwing shoulder), can his receiving corps be efficient with Devin Funchess now out of the picture, and can the O-line protect Newton?

Speaking of that offensive line, they will have their hands full week 1 looking to contain one of the league's best in the reigning defensive player of the year, Aaron Donald. If the Panthers can limit Donald wrecking havoc in the backfield, Carolina can improve to 1-0 to start 2019. But if the O-line can't protect QB-1, it could be very a long and painful day for the Panthers on a short week too, as they are facing division rival Tampa Bay this upcoming Thursday.

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Ok, let's talk Panther defense. Can they limit last year's second-highest scoring offense in the league from quarterback Jarred Goff and Todd Gurley? A lot of the focus will be on cornerback James Bradberry and second-year corner Donte Jackson along with his (hopefully) improved technique. Carolina's defensive line must also put pressure on Goff, ranging from newly acquired Gerald McCoy and well-known linebacker Luke Kuechly. You contain Gurley, and limit Goff's receiving weapons, you win the game. Sounds simple enough, right?

Would anyone be surprised though, if the Panthers beat the Rams? No, not exactly, although a lot of "experts" are predicting Los Angeles to come into Charlotte disciplined and leave with their first win of 2019.

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I unfortunately am choosing the Rams to win this contest, although I do believe it will be close throughout. Los Angeles wins 31-24, although if Newton has time to make plays, look for Cam and the Panthers to pull off the "upset" for week 1 of the new NFL season.

Enjoy the game, and let us know your thoughts! Who wins week 1? Rams or the Panthers? Be sure to tune into WFMY News 2 at 6 and 11 pm, for all your complete Carolina Panthers coverage.

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