Well, here we are. Carolina Panthers fans are desperately looking for a win against the Cleveland Browns and help from around the NFC to still have a chance at a wild card spot. We have been here before. In years past, a game against the Cleveland Browns would be a gimme. Not anymore. The Carolina Panthers have dropped four straight and look like they would be lucky to win another game this season.
Let us cast aside the doubt and cynicism for just a moment and look at the reality of today’s game.
The bad news is that Cam Newton once again has a sore shoulder as evidenced by his difficulties in Tampa Bay last week. Cleveland won’t have to worry much about the long pass from Newton today. The good news is that the Carolina Panthers have three playmakers capable of serious yards after catch. Christian McCaffrey, DJ Moore, and Curtis Samuel can all pick up chunk yardage and are a threat to take it to the house at any moment.
Look for the Panthers to run the ball early with CMC and open up play action passes against a tight defense that won’t be all too concerned about the deep ball. I suspect a single safety look from the Browns most of the day.
Ron Rivera took over the defensive playcalling last week and we saw immediate and substantial improvement. It is a shame Rivera took so long to relieve Eric Washington of his play calling duties. It should of happened in Pittsburgh as the Panthers were having their worst defensive effort in nearly two decades. Too little, too late, and the hesitancy may have cost Rivera his job.
Today we could see the Carolina Panthers defense that at least resembles its former self. If so, I like the Panthers chances in Cleveland.
I have picked the Carolina Panthers to win lately, and they have been losing. Maybe if I pick them to lose, they will win. Let us find out.
Carolina Panthers – 24
Cleveland Browns – 27Agree? Disagree? You can sound off right here with thousands of Carolina Panthers fans.