The Carolina Panthers (5-6) return home looking to end a three-game losing streak. Last week, the Panthers lost a tough one to the New Orleans Saints 34-31 after Will Lutz made a field goal as time expired.
The Panthers have lost three straight to the Packers, Falcons, and Saints and are 2-3 at The Bank this season.
This is the 15th all-time meeting between the two teams. The Washington Redskins (2-9) lead the series 8-6. The Panthers lost in Washington early last season, but have won 6 of the last 8 games against the Redskins, including 4 straight at home.
Washington’s Rookie Quarterback
The Panthers will face-off against a struggling Redskins team who’s being led by an inexperienced rookie quarterback. Dwayne Haskins was drafted 15th overall in last year’s NFL Draft. Haskins has appeared in 5 games thus far, starting in three contests. In the past two weeks, the rookie has thrown his first passing touchdown and got his first home win. On the season, Haskins has completed 54.6% of his passes for 654 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 6 interceptions. Haskins missed the last snap in last week’s win over Detroit because he was taking a selfie with a fan. Rookie Mistake.
The Panthers have the second most sacks in the league (41). Look for Carolina’s front-seven to be all over Haskins tomorrow as he has been sacked 17 times this season.
This is a great game for the Panthers to get back on track. Although the Panthers playoff window is quickly closing, there’s still enough space for us to feel a slight draft. The Panthers end the season with a tough schedule. After their home game against Washington, the Panthers next four games are in Atlanta, at home against Seattle, in Indianapolis, and they end the season at home against New Orleans. On paper, Washington is the easiest opponent they will face… on paper.
Washington Offensive Numbers
The Redskins best offensive rank is in Sacks Allowed. Washington has allowed 35 sacks this season which is tied for 23rd in the league. Offensively, Washington ranks last in the NFL in total offensive yards (253.4), passing yards per game (192.6), third down efficiency (26.4%), and points per game (13.1). Redskins are 27th in the league in rushing yards per game (85.9). According to the numbers, the Redskins don’t have much of an offensive attack.
Carolina’s Offensive Numbers
Offensively, the Carolina Panthers are middle-of-the-pack. Carolina is 19th in the league in total yards per game (347), 15th in passing yards per game (250.1), 28th in sacks allowed (38) and 28th in third down efficiency (31.4). Despite the three game losing streak, the Panthers have put up good numbers on the ground. Christian McCaffrey and the Panthers average 125.5 rushing yards per game, ranking ninth in the NFL. The Panthers have rushed for over 100 yards in 4 of the last 5 games.
Second-year quarterback, Kyle Allen started his career 5-0 with 0 interceptions. Since then Allen and the Panthers have lost 4 of their last 5 including the three game skid. This season Allen has 13 touchdowns and 14 total turnovers (9 INT, 5 FUM).
Last week Allen proved he still has what he had early on in the season. Although the Panthers lost to New Orleans, Allen finished the game 23-36 for 256 yards and 3 touchdowns. I’m expecting Allen to have another exciting game this week. One of the things to worry about with the Redskins are their corners. Carolina players, coaches, and fans are familiar with cornerback Josh Norman who had a pivotal role in Carolina’s 2015 Super Bowl run. On the other side Quinton Dunbar will be looking to lock down D.J. Moore. Dunbar got his fourth interception (team-high) in their win against Detroit last week. Washington’s best team ranking is in passing yards allowed per game. The Redskins allow 231.4 yards through the air per week, 11th best in the league.
I’ve been a fan of Moore ever since he was drafted. One of Moore’s first bad games as a Panther was last season against the Redskins. Moore fumbled the ball three times, losing all three. Since then, he has earned the title as the Panthers’ No. 1 wide receiver.
Moore capped off the month of November with 6 catches, 126 yards, and 2 touchdowns against the Saints last week. The Panthers played four games in November. During that span, Moore had 30 catches for 442 yards and 2 touchdowns. Moore has reached over 100 receiving yards in three of the last four games (had 95 receiving yards against Atlanta). Moore hasn’t made it into the end zone much, but he is one of the primary reasons the Panthers end up in the Red Zone. One of Moore’s strengths is his ability to get yards after the catch. This season, Moore has 321 yards after the catch which ranks 6th among NFL receivers. Moore has 4 catches of 50 yards or more this season-tied for most in the NFL.
Moore ranks fifth among all wide receivers with 905 receiving yards. All five of the league’s receiving yards leaders are in the NFC South (Michael Thomas, Chris Godwin, Mike Evans, Julio Jones, D.J. Moore). D.J. Moore will be the player I’ll be watching this week and the next Panthers jersey I will buy.
As always expect Run CMC to be the primary focus for Carolina’s offensive attack. McCaffrey leads the league in total touchdowns (16), rushing yards (1,123), and scrimmage yards (1,706). Last Sunday, Greg Olsen’s unconfirmed son (CMC) recorded his 8th career game with a rushing and receiving touchdown which ties Chuck Foreman (1973-75) for the most in an NFL player’s first three seasons.
- McCaffrey needs 15 receiving yards to pass Roger Craig (2,118) for the most receiving yards by a running back through their first three seasons
- The NFL record for scrimmage yards is 2,509 by Chris Johnson in 2009. McCaffrey needs 801 yards to overtake him, meaning he would need to average 160.2 scrimmage yards over the last five games
- D.J. Moore needs 95 receiving yards for his first career 1,000-yard season. It would be the first 1,000-yard receiving season since Greg Olsen in 2016 and first by a wideout since Kelvin Benjamin in 2014.
The NFL season has been a crazy one. Anything can and has happened. The Panthers are struggling this season and looking to get to .500 before playing their final four games. This will be the easiest, and I’m hesitant to use that word, win to get if the Panthers are disciplined and don’t shoot themselves in the foot. The Panthers must take care of the ball. Allen had a great game last week, but in the four games before that he combined for 9 interceptions. Last season, turnovers killed the Panthers against the Redskins. The defense was on the field the majority of the game and Alex Smith and the offense picked Carolina’s defense apart.
My keys to the game for the Black and Blue are get off to a fast start and take care of the ball. Since 2016, the Panthers are 26-6 when leading at halftime and 2-20 when trailing at the break. Take care of the ball and you will play downhill for most of the game. I’m confident that Carolina’s front-seven will put pressure on Haskins all game which could help turn into a takeaway for the Panthers defense. The Panthers have only one takeaway since Tre Boston’s Week 9 interception against the Titans. It was Boston’s interception last week against Drew Brees.
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