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Panthers look for feline superiority against Bengals

The Carolina Panthers face the Cincinnati Bengals as it hopes to avenge a heartbreaking loss on Sunday.


After a 37-34 loss to the Atlanta Falcons in OT, the Panthers head to Ohio for a game against the defending AFC Champions.


The Bengals own one of the best, young quarterbacks in Joe Burrow, and primarily utilize his arm to barrage opponents with passes.


Here are some keys that can help the Panthers overcome the Bengals on Sunday.


Prepare for the air assault


Heading into the game on Sunday, Joe Burrow led the NFL in passing yards with 2,329. The Bengals ranked sixth for passing yards per game with 268. In the last three games Burrow passed for 300, 481 and 232 yards. In these games he also completed 75.7, 81 and 71.4 percent of his passes. His 17 touchdowns ranked third in the league versus six interceptions.


After an embarrassing loss to the Cleveland Browns on Monday Night Football, Burrow is extra motivated to right the ship. It may come at the Panthers expense. The LSU product passes at least 30 times a game.


Furthermore, ranked as one of the lowest teams with 81 rushing yards per game. This lack of performance on one dimension of the offense means more emphasis on the other, which is Burrow and his receivers.


Ranked 20th with 232 passing yards allowed, the Panthers struggled significantly against QBs.


Knowing this, Carolina must pressure Burrow and sell out on the pass.



Balanced attack


The Bengals ranked 15th for most passing yards allowed with 210.4, and 21st with 125.6 rushing yards allowed per game.


The Cincinnati defense showed no obvious weakness to one or the other, so maybe hit it equally hard on both fronts.


PJ Walker improved from his start against the Rams in his win against the Buccaneers. Despite the loss to the Falcons, Walker surpassed 300 yards in the contest, which was much more than his 177 against Tampa Bay. Another key contributor of late is D’Onta Foreman. In the previous two contests he rushed for 118 yards in each. On 41 carries for 236 yards and three touchdowns, he presented an unexpected mismatch for the Bucs and Falcons.



If Carolina wants to fire at the same capacity as Cincinnati in this shootout, then both dimensions of the offense should continue the upward trend.


No mental mistakes


As much as it could be blamed for the defense’s inability to put away the Falcons, the game is remembered for one critical mistake.


Or the finger could be pointed at Eddy Pineiro who missed a game-winning field goal in overtime.


But the penalty killed the momentum for Carolina, the huge mental mistake, or lapse in judgement.


The DJ Moore penalty where he took his helmet off after his game-tying touchdown. This penalty backed the extra point up far enough for it to be a 40 plus yard attempt, which Pineiro missed. A rookie mistake, maybe worse, made by a team leader and savvy veteran. It happens occasionally, but it killed the Panthers. The move arguably cost Carolina the game.



Mental mistakes happen, but cutting down on them, or learning from them is crucial. If the black and blue want to be competitive against the defending AFC Champions, then the team must learn from that mistake.


Carolina kicks off at 1 p.m. on Sunday