Week 14 Preview: Panthers at Browns
After last week’s debacle, the Panthers are on the outside looking in at the playoffs with a lot left to prove still. Besides Christian McCaffrey staying hot while racking up 161 all-purpose yards on 19 touches, the Panthers didn’t do themselves any favor by losing to the now (5-7) Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Cam didn’t look healthy and even though the defense had its moments getting pressure, they still need to get more consistent if they are to make a push for one of the two wild card spots. The Browns are coming off a 29 – 13 loss to the red-hot Houston Texans. Baker Mayfield put up almost 400 yards through the air to a solid Texans defense. Albeit their secondary is not the Texans strong point nor is it the Panthers. Nick Chubb who burst on the scene earlier this year with some effortless looking long TD runs hasn’t been as effective as of late. Mayfield and Chubb having played a few more games, should have a bit more of a book on them now. The Panthers need to rely on all-pro linebacker Luke Kuechly to dissect Mayfield and keep the Browns at bay tomorrow in Cleveland.
The Browns rank 29th in passing yards allowed a game and 28th in rushing yards per game so the Panthers have got to take advantage. Yes, Cam has been limited all week with shoulder soreness but the Panthers have no reason to not feed CMC the ball early and often. Look for Norv Turner to try and find ways to get the ball out of Cam’s hand quick and in the hands of his playmakers. The Browns will surely know this and try and stop it accordingly so it will come down to execution. This coming on a night where a fellow Oklahoma QB was crowned the Heisman trophy award winner. Tomorrow two former Heisman winners square off in another must win for the Panthers. Along with that, Myles Garrett looks to record his 14th sack of the season which would be a Browns season record. While Julius Peppers sits at 158.5 career sacks, just 2 shy of taking over 3rd overall on the all-time sacks list.
The Panthers have been so confusing as of late, looking great and yet awful at times throughout the season. This has been a odd season for Panthers fans and I have a bad feeling this might get worse on Sunday if they aren’t careful. That said, I will put my faith in the good guys one more time before their upcoming divisional games. If Norv can game plan to get the ball out of Cams hands fast and the defense come up with enough stops to hold off the new, improved Browns team.
Colin Jones – Questionable
Graham Gano - Out
Panthers 27– Browns 23
CAR pk -110
CLE pk -110