The Carolina Panthers travel to Los Angeles for a game against the Rams on Sunday with a 4:05 p.m. kickoff.
Making a quick trip out West, the black and blue look to rebound against the defending Super Bowl champions. With a lot of news surrounding, Carolina it is imperative to focus on this game in hopes of getting a win.
Carolina must take advantage of a weak Rams offensive line, limit the running game on defense, and avoid the costly turnover.
Taking advantage of a weak O-line
For Carolina, the offensive line play has been atrocious. The O-line allowed 18 sacks in the five contests, which puts the team at fifth in most sacks allowed.
But the team with the most sacks allowed is the Los Angeles Rams. With 21, the defending champs have struggled mightily at protecting Matt Stafford. This could explain why the slow start for the Rams and how the Dallas Cowboys decimated the team last week.
It is crucial Carolina pressures Matt Stafford. If the Panthers defense can make him uncomfortable, then it may produce similar results. In the game against Dallas, Stafford threw one interception, lost two fumbles and was sacked five times. The Panthers need a similar performance to stay in this game.
If Stafford has time in the pocket against Carolina, then it may be a long day for the secondary.
Limit the running game
The Rams own perhaps the best receiver in the game, if not a top five in Cooper Kupp. While Carolina struggled against the pass in five games allowing 1,092 yards on 171 attempts through the air, the run defense is much worse for Carolina.
In terms of ranking, the Panthers allowed the sixth most rushing yards in five games with 689 yards on 160 attempts.
While this may be an anomaly, the Carolina defense gives up the sixth most rushing yards per game, 137.8 yards per game. So, the defense moderately struggles against the pass compared to other teams, but is one of the worse against the run.
Los Angeles owns a solid receiving core, but probably attacks Carolina on the ground.
Avoiding the costly turnover
In the previous two contests, the black and blue made two huge turnovers that put them further out of the game.
Against the Cardinals it was the interception early in the fourth quarter. Down 13-10, Mayfield was picked off deep in his own territory. Arizona scored to make it 20-10, and the Panthers were in a huge deficit.
In last week’s contest against San Francisco, the interception before halftime that was returned for a touchdown. The 49ers walked into the locker room up 17-3, and this put Carolina in a deep hole.
The two fumbles against New York early in the game led to a pair of field goals for the Giants. Carolina lost the game 19-16. If the Panthers did not fumble twice, then it may have swung momentum a different way.
All this to say, Carolina turns the ball over in crucial situations. Whenever Carolina is in striking distance, it turns the ball over in costly fashion. Keeping the ball in the offense’s hands while down instead of turning it over will be huge in a game like this.
Carolina plays Los Angeles on Sunday in a later start at 4:05 p.m.