I’m not gonna lie, this matchup scares the bejeezus out of me. The Panthers have had an explosive offense this year with Cam Newton at the helm. Steve Smith is already at 918 yards this season, second best in the NFL and Newtons been giving his TE’s a healthy slice of the passing pie. Newton has also racked up 319 yards and seven touchdowns via the ground, himself. That’s just a little over 40 yards less than Chris Johnson, DeAngelo Williams, and Jonathan Stewart. The Titans are gonna have their hands full.
This game could be decided by the TE’s. The Titans have been destroyed by opponents TE’s so far this season thanks to the effort put forth by Barrett Rudd and Will Witherspoon. Surprisingly enough, the Panthers have done even worse against opposing TE’s. Both teams have some dangerous TE’s with the Panther sporting a dangerous duo in Greg Olsen and Jeremy Shockey while the Titans have their own impressive pair in Jared Cook and Craig Stevens. Both teams also have injuries that may have them starting different linebackers. Rudd has a groin injury that has his playing status as questionable. That could open the door for rookie linebacker Colin McCarthy to take over. The Panthers will be missing back up linebacker Jason Phillips and may be missing their lead tackler in linebacker James Anderson. This all adds up to even more of the game being in the TE’s hands.
Chris Johnson may actually show up. Seriously. We saw a glimpse of the old Chris Johnson we remember this last week but he disappeared at half time. This week he goes up against another generous run defense and the Titans will be wanting to keep the ball out of the hands of Cam Newton as much as they can. They’ll try and control the clock and time of possession. They have to if they want to get the win.
The Titans defensive line has to play at the top of their game. As I mentioned earlier, Cam Newton has run for 319 yards and seven touchdowns so far this season. That alone is terrifying. Add in the fact that the Panthers also have DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart in the backfield and you’ve got a whole lot of trouble on your hands. Derrick Morgan and Jason Jones have to contain the ends or else the the Panthers will most certainly make them pay.
In the end, I’m not sure who will come out on top. The Titans have been so bipolar that they’re unpredictable. But what the heck…
Titans 27 - Panthers 24
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