Defense has not been a trademark of the 2012 Raiders, having given up 402 points in 14 games, so it will be no surprise if they add to that inflated number this weekend. Pro Bowl defensive tackle Richard Seymour has somehow stayed on the active roster all season, despite missing the last six contests, and he will be out again when his team tries to slow down the recharged Panthers.
In a season chocked full of rookie sensations, one is rapidly climbing the Defensive Rookie of the Year ladder. Linebacker Luke Kuechly leads the league in tackles, just like he led the nation at Boston College, and despite the Panthers losing record, he could get serious consideration for the top first year player award. Carolina is also knee deep in players on injured reserve.
Injuries should not play a major part in the final meeting of the year between the Buccaneers and Panthers this Sunday at Bank of American Stadium as only one player is listed as out. However, the Buccaneers have a concern at guard with starter Jamon Meredith hobbled with an ankle injury.
Hey Panthers, The Broncos Are Coming, The Broncos Are Coming (And So Are John Fox And Peyton Manning)
The Broncos and Panthers hook up for just the fourth time ever this Sunday and it should be a memorable day. John Fox returns, the only head coach to lead Carolina to a Super Bowl, and QB Peyton Manning, who won the big game in 2007, visits as one of his final stops before landing in Canton when his Hall of Fame career is over.
One team could get their season back on track but the Cowboys have some significant injuries to their offense and special teams. The Panthers are hurting too, but after week off they are focused and ready to go.
Three games under .500 after just five games is tough enough but now the Panthers are in a desperate search to find a replacement for arguably the best center in the NFL. Ryan Kalil set a high bar for Carolina this season and even if Carolina manages to turn things around, he won’t be leading the way.
It’s hard to say it is a must-win game in Week 2 but for the Panthers and Saints, going 0-2 is not an option. Carolina may need it more because it would be two straight losses to a divisional foe. New Orleans simple needs a victory to take their minds off all the other distractions.
The Panthers and Buccaneers each have top players banged up, but it’s Tampa Bay thats feeling the pain, especially at cornerback. Carolina quarterback Cam Newton had a record setting rookie campaign passing the ball, and could have a field day to start his second year against a secondary with little depth.