The game last year between Carolina Panthers and the Green Bay Packers is one Panthers' fans would like to forget. It seemed the game was pretty much over as soon as it started with the Packers building a 21 point lead after the first quarter. The good news entering this year's match up is that the Panthers are vastly different than a season ago. The team is expected to have 12 new starters this year compared to last year and this could mean a much different outcome than a season ago.
|Position||2014 Season||2015 Season|
|Quarterback||Cam Newton||Cam Newton|
|Running Back||Jonathan Stewart||Jonathan Stewart|
|Wide Receiver||Jerricho Cotchery||Philly Brown|
|Wide Receiver||Kelvin Benjamin||Ted Ginn Jr.|
|Tight End||Greg Olsen||Greg Olsen|
|Tight End||Ed Dickson||Ed Dickson|
|Left Tackle||Byron Bell||Michael Oher|
|Left Guard||Fernando Velasco||Amini Silatolu|
|Center||Ryan Kalil||Ryan Kalil|
|Right Guard||Trai Turner||Trai Turner|
|Right Tackle||Nate Chandler||Mike Remmers|
The Carolina Panthers will entering their Week 9 match up with the Green Bay Packers with five different starters from their game last year. The changes aren't all good though as the team will have two different wide receivers with Kelvin Benjamin out for the year due to a knee injury.
The positives for this offense though is the improvements along the offensive line with three different starters than 2014. The trio of Michael Oher, Amini Silatolu and Mike Remmers have to be considered upgrades over Byron Bell, Fernando Velasco (who is still on the team but as a backup), and Nate Chandler. This is a vast improvement even with the team's normal starter at left guard in 2015, Andrew Norwell, out for this week's game and replaced with Silatolu.
The other big difference, which wouldn't show here, is the team is much healthier this year versus last. Cam Newton battled a number of injuries throughout the year and this was the first game Jonathan Stewart played after a four week absence.
|Position||2014 Season||2015 Season|
|Left Defensive End||Charles Johnson||Kony Ealy|
|Left Defensive Tackle||Colin Cole||Kawann Short|
|Right Defensive Tackle||Star Lotulelei||Star Lotulelei|
|Right Defensive End||Wes Horton||Jared Allen|
|Middle Linebacker||Luke Kuechly||Luke Kuechly|
|Weakside Linebacker||Thomas Davis||Thomas Davis|
|Left Cornerback||Antoine Cason||Charles Tillman|
|Right Cornerback||Melvin White||Josh Norman|
|Strong Safety||Roman Harper||Roman Harper|
|Free Safety||Thomas DeCoud||Kurt Coleman|
|Cornerback||Charles Godfrey||Bene Benwikere|
The Panthers' defense will have seven new starters with only Luke Kuechly, Thomas Davis, Star Lotulelei and Roman Harper returning. The biggest change for this defense comes in the secondary with four new starters.The team will have three new cornerbacks (Josh Norman, Charles Tillman and Bene Benwikere) to go along with Kurt Coleman at free safety. Last year, Aaron Rodgers threw for 255 yards and had as many touchdown passes as incompletions (3) and it is unlikely that he will put up similar numbers.
They will also have three new starters along the defensive line with Charles Johnson injured, Wes Horton in a back up role, and Colin Cole no longer on the roster. The team instead will have Kony Ealy, Kawann Short and Jared Allen starting alongside Lotulelei.
In addition, even though it is not listed here, the Panthers will have rookie Shaq Thompson available for this game. Last year, the Panthers' struggled to have three healthy linebackers and had to operate out of a nickel defense for a majority of the year. The Packers should expect to see more of their base 4-3 defense on Sunday.
*Starting lineups courtesy of NFL's Gamebooks