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NFL Preview - Carolina (1-6) at Washington (3-5)



By Shawn Clarke, Contributing NFL Editor

(Sports Network) - When it rains, it pours. And when the Carolina Panthers lose, it's usually by less than a touchdown.

The frustrating season will continue for the lowly Panthers, as they play their second straight road game Sunday against rookie sensation Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field.

Griffin will face last year's Rookie of the Year in Panthers quarterback Cam Newton. Both Griffin and Newton have similar skill sets in that they both have strong arms and can improvise when trouble arises, but one has been more frustrated lately than the other.

Newton was reamed by the media for his postgame comments and mannerisms following a tough loss to the Dallas Cowboys, but altered course after this past Sunday's 23-22 setback at Chicago. Even though he had no touchdown passes and was intercepted twice, Newton completed 20-of-39 attempts to give Carolina a chance to end their skid. He also ran for 37 yards.

However, the subpar effort wasn't enough and the Panthers suffered their fifth straight loss to fall to 1-6 on the season. Save a 36-7 thrashing by the New York Giants in Week 3, Carolina has lost by no more than six points.

"I am running out of ways to describe this (season). It was disappointing, obviously. Our guys played well enough to give themselves a chance to win," Panthers head coach Ron Rivera said. "The guys played well, and the guys played hard. I feel bad for those guys in that (locker room)."

The Panthers are winless in their last four road games dating back to last season.

Washington maintained its grasp of last place in the NFC East with Sunday's 27-12 loss at Pittsburgh. Griffin wasn't much of a factor in this one and passed for just 177 yards with a touchdown.

Redskins rookie running back Alfred Morris, who was coming off a 120-yard performance in a tough loss at New York and was averaging 98.8 rushing yards per game in his previous four, was held to 59 yards on 13 carries in the loss, Washington's second straight and fifth in seven tries.

"To come into this environment and win you have to play one of your better games both offensively, defensively and special teams and we did not do that," Redskins coach Mike Shanahan admitted. "I'm disappointed in the number of opportunities that we had and plays we didn't make on both sides of the football."

The Steelers amassed 355 yards of offense, including 140 on the ground, against a porous Washington defense. Ben Roethlisberger picked apart the Redskins' secondary to the tune of 222 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. Redskins OLB Ryan Kerrigan had the only sack in defeat.

Washington looks to right the ship with a home bout and was able to squeeze past Minnesota the last time it played at FedEx Field on Oct. 14.

The Panthers handed the Redskins a 33-20 loss last Oct. 23, when Newton passed for 256 yards and a touchdown and racked up 59 yards and a score on 10 scrambles. In fact, Carolina ran for 175 yards and finished with 407 on the day. The Redskins have won seven of 10 all-time meetings with Carolina.

Carolina has won three of the last four meetings.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

Washington is still having trouble against the pass and will face another challenging against Panthers wideout Steve Smith. Smith had 118 yards on seven receptions and is starting to rekindle that bond he had with Newton a year ago. Four Steelers receivers have at least 38 yards last week.

DeAngelo Hall is Washington's most experienced defensive back and has two interceptions on the season. The Redskins could use one this week, for it should be a close matchup with Carolina. They have posted just one sack in each of the last two games, and the key to beating Newton is throwing off his timing and disrupting the pocket.

Perhaps the biggest key to Sunday's game is how both Newton and Griffin perform. They are two of the most exciting players in the league and both happen to play quarterback. Newton has the edge over the rookie Griffin since he is in his second year, and has more pressure on his shoulders for a Panthers team whose hopes are circling the drain.

RG3 has already evolved into a dynamic offensive threat with his ability to keep plays alive and create opportunities. Newton helped Carolina gain 416 total yards against the Bears, but it wasn't enough to stop the bleeding. He'll be looking to upstage Griffin on enemy ground.

OVERALL ANALYSIS

Both teams enter this matchup desperate for a win, so it boils down to the one who makes the most mistakes. Lately, it's been Newton, who hasn't had the luxury of a defense making stops at critical moments of the game. Why else would the Panthers be 1-6 on the season? The Redskins are still a tough squad to slow down, including at home, but they won't have what it takes to contain Newton and a determined Panthers team trying to save Rivera's job as coach.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Panthers 21, Redskins 17

11/01 15:58:13 ET

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Schedule

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Standings

 2013 American Football Conference Standings 
East Division W L T Pct. PF PA Home Away Div Conf
y-New England 12 4 0 .750 444 338 8-0 4-4 4-2 9-3
NY Jets 8 8 0 .500 290 387 6-2 2-6 3-3 5-7
Miami 8 8 0 .500 317 335 4-4 4-4 2-4 7-5
Buffalo 6 10 0 .375 339 388 4-4 2-6 3-3 5-7
 
North Division W L T Pct. PF PA Home Away Div Conf
y-Cincinnati 11 5 0 .688 430 305 8-0 3-5 3-3 8-4
Pittsburgh 8 8 0 .500 379 370 5-3 3-5 4-2 6-6
Baltimore 8 8 0 .500 320 352 6-2 2-6 3-3 6-6
Cleveland 4 12 0 .250 308 406 3-5 1-7 2-4 3-9
 
South Division W L T Pct. PF PA Home Away Div Conf
y-Indianapolis 11 5 0 .688 391 336 6-2 5-3 6-0 9-3
Tennessee 7 9 0 .438 362 381 3-5 4-4 2-4 6-6
Jacksonville 4 12 0 .250 247 449 1-7 3-5 3-3 4-8
Houston 2 14 0 .125 276 428 1-7 1-7 1-5 2-10
 
West Division W L T Pct. PF PA Home Away Div Conf
y-Denver 13 3 0 .813 606 399 7-1 6-2 5-1 9-3
x-Kansas City 11 5 0 .688 430 305 5-3 6-2 2-4 7-5
x-San Diego 9 7 0 .563 396 348 5-3 4-4 4-2 6-6
Oakland 4 12 0 .250 322 453 3-5 1-7 1-5 4-8
 
x= clinched playoff berth
y= clinched division title
 2013 National Football Conference Standings 
East Division W L T Pct. PF PA Home Away Div Conf
y-Philadelphia 10 6 0 .625 442 382 4-4 6-2 4-2 9-3
Dallas 8 8 0 .500 439 432 5-3 3-5 5-1 7-5
NY Giants 7 9 0 .438 294 383 4-4 3-5 3-3 6-6
Washington 3 13 0 .188 334 478 2-6 1-7 0-6 1-11
 
North Division W L T Pct. PF PA Home Away Div Conf
y-Green Bay 8 7 1 .531 417 428 4-3-1 4-4 3-2-1 6-5-1
Chicago 8 8 0 .500 445 478 5-3 3-5 2-4 4-8
Detroit 7 9 0 .438 395 376 4-4 3-5 4-2 6-6
Minnesota 5 10 1 .344 391 480 5-3 0-7-1 2-3-1 4-7-1
 
South Division W L T Pct. PF PA Home Away Div Conf
y-Carolina 12 4 0 .750 366 241 7-1 5-3 5-1 9-3
x-New Orleans 11 5 0 .688 414 304 8-0 3-5 5-1 9-3
Atlanta 4 12 0 .250 353 443 3-5 1-7 1-5 3-9
Tampa Bay 4 12 0 .250 288 389 3-5 1-7 1-5 2-10
 
West Division W L T Pct. PF PA Home Away Div Conf
y-Seattle 13 3 0 .813 417 231 7-1 6-2 4-2 10-2
x-San Francisco 12 4 0 .750 406 272 6-2 6-2 5-1 9-3
Arizona 10 6 0 .625 379 324 6-2 4-4 2-4 6-6
St. Louis 7 9 0 .438 348 364 5-3 2-6 1-5 4-8
 
x= clinched playoff berth
y= clinched division title
TV
  • NASL: RailHawks vs. Ft. Lauderdale

    Saturday at 7:30 am on WRAL-2

  • PGA: RBC Heritage

    Saturday at 3:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • PGA: RBC Heritage

    Sunday at 3:00 pm on WRAL-TV

Scoreboard
Local
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
CHI
7:05pm Tonight
DUR
NOR
 
12:35pm Today
CIN
PIT
12:35pm Today
BAL
TAM
1:05pm Today
NYY
CHC
1:10pm Today
MIL
STL
3:40pm Today
ARI
NYM
7:05pm Tonight
PHI
ATL
7:05pm Tonight
NYY
CHC
7:08pm Tonight
DET
CLE
7:10pm Tonight
MIA
WAS
8:05pm Tonight
TEX
SEA
8:10pm Tonight
CWS
BOS
8:10pm Tonight
HOU
KAN
8:10pm Tonight
MIN
TOR
10:05pm Tonight
ANA
OAK
10:10pm Tonight
SDP
COL
10:15pm Tonight
SFG
LOS
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
CHI
7:00pm Tonight
ORL
IND
8:00pm Tonight
MIL
ATL
8:00pm Tonight
CLE
BRK
8:00pm Tonight
MEM
DAL
8:00pm Tonight
OKC
DET
8:00pm Tonight
NOP
HOU
8:00pm Tonight
SAN
LAL
8:00pm Tonight
MIA
PHI
8:00pm Tonight
NYK
TOR
8:00pm Tonight
MIN
UTA
8:00pm Tonight
BOS
WAS
10:30pm Tonight
DEN
GSW
10:30pm Tonight
POR
LAC
10:30pm Tonight
SAC
PHO
7:00pm Tonight
TAM
MON
7:30pm Tonight
PIT
CLB
10:00pm Tonight
ANA
DAL
7:05pm Tonight
DUR
NOR