The reason behind this week one pressure comes from the Panthers opponent.
This game features Mayfield facing his former team, the Cleveland Browns.
While facing an old team isn’t new in the NFL, there are several reasons the Panthers QB must win.
So what are these reasons behind him not being able to afford a letdown versus the Browns?
Mayfield’s Private Conversation With Cynthia Frelund Puts Pressure On Him
When having a private conversation with a sport analyst, you can’t let things turn into clickbait.
However, Mayfield fell for the clickbait trap when Cynthia Frelund had a conversation with him.
She encouraged him to “go F**** them up,” referring to his new fresh start in Carolina.
However, he made a mistake by repeating her words.
Cynthia Frelund clarifies what happened with Baker Mayfield. She told Baker to “go f*** them up,” and he repeated it back to her in agreement. #Browns #Panthers @ultCLEsports pic.twitter.com/A0E3ZsJvet
— Ed Greenberger (@EdGreenberger) August 30, 2022
Her sharing this private moment has turned into pressure for him against his old team.
By him co-signing what she said, he must now do exactly that.
But outside of the pressure of him repeating this, he has a franchise on his shoulders yet again.
Carolina Has Mayfield As Their Hero This Season
When Carolina got Mayfield, it was because they needed a hero under center.
However, being a hero of a failing franchise means you can’t afford to lose.
This is his situation in Carolina, brought in to save head coach Matt Rhule’s job.
But it’s an enormous request by them, as his 2021 season wasn’t good.
Yet, he’s looking different this season.
He’s looking so good during the preseason that even Skip Bayless is sold on the former first overall pick from 2018.
Baker Mayfield looks … sensational. Steal of the Century. Arm is LIVE. Quick-footed mobility is back. He's finally completely healthy. Back to being the "hopeless underdog" for a team ranked 32nd through the offseason. HERE COMES CAROLINA.
— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) August 27, 2022
However, can he turn the underdog team in Carolina into a contender?
Pressure Goes Beyond Winning Against His Former Team
This week one game is more than a revenge game for Mayfield.
While he’d love to defeat the team that abandoned him for Deshaun Watson, there’s more to his story than one game.
The pressure is for him to turn Carolina around, much like some claim he did in Cleveland.
However, he had great defensive players on that Browns roster in 2020.
They were key in him getting him and Cleveland their first playoff win since 1994.
But many believe it was all Mayfield, as his offense was good that season.
While Carolina needs him to beat his old team, they also need him to turn them into a winning team.
Gone are the days of Cam Newton shouldering the team to victory.
They now must rely on their new quarterback to lead them to a winning season.
This puts pressure on him to excel and win at least nine games this season.
Winning this many games turns the franchise around, even if they miss the playoffs.
So even if his revenge against Cleveland is on his to-do list, he must have a winning season on the list as well.
The franchise, and coach Rhule, all have hopes he can accomplish the unthinkable in Carolina this NFL season.