Panthers Game Day: Oakland Raiders – Week 12
Following last week’s win, both the physical and mental state of the Carolina Panthers will be tested in Oakland…
Last week, the Carolina Panthers rebounded from a heartbreaking loss by defeating divisional rival New Orleans at home. However, their efforts resulted in numerous injuries to players on both sides of the football. Most notably, linebacker Luke Kuechly who was carted off the field after suffering a concussion just prior to the game’s conclusion.
Ryan Kalil, Mario Addison, Kelvin Benjamin, and Leonard Johnson all were removed along with Kuechly at one point or another during the game. However, Benjamin the Panthers’ wide receiver, did return. Each of the other players’ status for Sunday remains up in the air, except for Kuechly, who’s timetable for a return has not been discussed.
Opposite, the Oakland Raiders are leading arguably the toughest division in all of football. With their win over the Houston Texans on Monday night the Raiders are off to their best start since 2002 and looking for a playoff return. Quarterback Derek Carr leads a team that has won four in a row behind running back Latavius Murray with receivers, Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper on the outside. Defensively, the Raiders rank last in the NFL with only 15 sacks but defensive end Khalil Mack has accounted for over half and continuously pressures opposing quarterbacks.
2016 SEASON: CAROLINA PANTHERS (4-6) at OAKLAND RAIDERS (8-2)
KICKOFF: 4:25 PM ET
LOCATION: OAKLAND COLISEUM
WEATHER: 57 degrees, 69% humidity, NW 14mph wind, 10% precipitation
LAST MEETING: 17-6, CAR – Dec. 23, 2012
CAR, Mike Remmers & Daryl Williams vs. OAK, Khalil Mack
As mentioned, the Raiders ability to get to the quarterback runs through one man alone. If the offensive tackle duo of Remmers and Williams can neutralize Mack during the course of the contest, quarterback Cam Newton could have a big day. The Raiders secondary ranks near the bottom of the NFL and Newton has always been more effective when given time in the pocket.
CAR Secondary vs. OAK Receivers
However, the improving play of rookies James Bradberry and Daryl Worley in Carolina’s own secondary will be tested early and often. The Raiders will line up arguably the best receiving duo in the league in Cooper and Crabtree. If the front-seven of the Carolina Panthers defense can continue to generate pressure on Carr, it will greatly benefit the inexperienced cornerbacks on Sunday.
Despite injuries, this Carolina Panthers team is proving to be resilient by refusing to give up on the 2016 season. Trailing the division leading Atlanta Falcons by only two games, the Panthers could finally move up from the cellar with a victory. Oakland’s only two losses were at home and the Panthers present a unique matchup for the silver and black. Expect Carolina to steal a victory, keeping their playoff hopes alive, before moving north to Seattle.
PREDICTION: Panthers – 31, Raiders – 24