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X-Factors: Greg Olsen

Why Greg Olsen is the Panthers' biggest X-Factor in their week 1 matchup with the Jaguars.

Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

Each week throughout this season, I will pick a player from the opposing team who I think could have the biggest impact on the result of the game, at least from the opponents perspective.

Choosing X-Factor players for the Panthers seems easy enough. Between players like Cam Newton, Jonathan Stewart, and Luke Kuechly, the Panthers have several candidates for big week 1 performances. But the X-Factor for week 1 seems clear to me, even above the rest of these talented players.

Greg Olsen.

No, not this Greg Olson.

This Greg Olsen

With how both the Panthers Offense and Jaguars Defense stand going into week 1, the stars have alligned perfectly for Olsen to have a huge impact.

This is a player who caught 84 passes for 1,008 yards and 6 touchdowns last year, despite having Kelvin Benjamin producing at a high rate as well.

Now with Benjamin down, the Panthers group of wideouts is spearheaded by Philly Brown, Ted Ginn Jr, and Devin Funchess. The same Funchess who didn't play a snap with Newton all preseason.

The Panthers are likely going to try to establish the run early and often to offset their lack of pass catchers but when they do turn to the passing game, Olsen is far and away their best option. He is going to see a lot of targets.

And with how the Jaguars have covered Tight End's over the years, he is likely to turn those targets into big plays.

The most yards Olsen had in a game last year stands at 119. I like the Jags chances vs the Panthers in the big picture, but regarding Olsen alone, I could see him exceed his season high from last year.

The Jags have been exploited by TE's over and over again for what seems like the better part of the last 10 years, but especially under Gus Bradley. This is in large part due to a scheme that leaves the MOF open if the Linebackers struggle in pass coverage, which is something the Jaguars Linebackers seem to be plagued with.

Let's be honest. You can't watch this play and not think it is eerie how similar that looks to Posluzny covering TE's week in and week out.

What Olsen does best is use his speed to get down the field. What the Jags defense has done worst under Bradley is cover TE's down the field.

And now, they have the task of covering someone who is easily one of the 4-5 best TE's in the NFL.

Olsen is a big time talent. The Panthers have nobody else who can really challenge him for targets. And the Jaguars can't cover Tight Ends.

I know the tone of this article seems pretty pessimistic, but in a matchup like this it is hard to sound otherwise. I have high hopes and expectations for week 1, but defending Greg Olsen isn't one of them.