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NFL Preview - Carolina (3-8) at Kansas City (1-10)



By Lyle Fitzsimmons, Contributing NFL Editor

(Sports Network) - The game will go on in Kansas City.

The Chiefs and Carolina Panthers will play as scheduled Sunday in the wake of Saturday's tragedy surrounding the team.

Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher killed himself at the team's training facility, minutes after allegedly killing his girlfriend.

There was speculation that Sunday's game might be postponed, at least for a day, after the events but Kansas City chose to proceed with Sunday's game after the team's six captains informed coach Romeo Crennel that they wanted to play.

"After discussions between the league office, head coach Romeo Crennel and Chiefs team captains, the Chiefs advised the NFL that it will play tomorrow's game vs. the Carolina Panthers at its originally scheduled time," the Chiefs said in a statement.

Crennel, according to police, witnessed Belcher's suicide.

Police believe Belcher shot his girlfriend multiple times after the two had argued at home. Minutes after the first shooting, Belcher drove to the Chiefs' training facility at Arrowhead Stadium and spoke with team personnel, including Crennel and general manager Scott Pioli, before taking his own life with a gunshot.

The Chiefs plan to conduct a moment of silence on Sunday for all victims of domestic violence.

On the field the NFL's new-era poster child and its consensus top rookie of 2011, Cam Newton and his Panthers had found little other than frustration in his sophomore year before a Week 12 defeat of Philadelphia on Monday night.

They'll try to make it a modest two-game streak this Sunday when they head to Arrowhead Stadium to face the similarly struggling Chiefs, who've won just once in 11 games and are one L away from tying the longest skid in a storied franchise history.

Against the Eagles before a national TV audience, Newton threw for 306 yards, ran for 52 more and was involved in four touchdowns -- two pass/two rush -- in a 30-22 victory.

"Winning is huge. It cures all," Carolina coach Ron Rivera said. "We've got to continue now. We have to take this momentum we have on a short week into Kansas City."

The offensive explosion was uncharacteristic for the 2012 Panthers, who'd averaged 19.5 points per week before meeting the Eagles and posting their second-best number of the season. Last year, Carolina scored at a 25.4 point- per-game rate.

This week's foe, the Chiefs, have allowed 22 passing touchdowns in 11 games. And Newton, who had five TDs and eight interceptions through seven games, has six TDs and only two picks in the last four -- in which the Panthers are 2-2.

The QB's 20 rushing scores since his 2011 debut are second-best in the league.

"People are throwing different things at him now," Rivera said. "They're trying to throw things that have worked against him at him, and he's learning those things and understanding them."

The same can't be said for the plummeting Chiefs, who've scored just 10.4 points per game over the last seven losses and have allowed 26 or more five times in the last eight. They're last in the league in both turnovers (32) and red-zone points (94) and haven't won at Arrowhead -- typically one of the NFL's best home venues -- since last season.

Kansas City, which lost, 17-9, to Denver last week, hasn't scored a touchdown in nearly three full games.

Running back Jamaal Charles had 107 ground yards against the Broncos and quarterback Brady Quinn was 13-of-25 for 126 yards and one interception.

"This is a result-driven business we're in and when you don't get results, you don't feel good about it," Crennel said. "Everybody is frustrated about losing -- players, coaches, fans, owners, everybody. What we want or what we need is, we need to try to win a game to make us feel better, give us a little confidence and then if you win one, then maybe we can win another one."

A defense that's been gashed for 126.1 rush yards per week may not have to face Carolina's Jonathan Stewart after he sustained a high ankle sprain against the Eagles. His absence would mean a return to the starting unit for DeAngelo Williams for the first time since October.

The Panthers will be without defensive end Ray Edwards, who's out for the rest of the year with a dislocated elbow that came in Monday's game.

The all-time series between the teams is even at two games apiece, with Carolina winning the last two in 2004 (28-17 at Kansas City) and 2008 (34-0 at Carolina). Rivera has never faced the Chiefs and Crennel is 0-1 against the Panthers.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

Though Stewart may be absent or at least limited, the Panthers still need to make running the ball a priority to take the pressure off Newton's arm. Carolina is 18th in the league with 108 rush yards per game and they're led as a team by Newton's 446 ground yards.

Kansas City may be a vulnerable target after allowing the aforementioned 126.1 yards on the ground per game through 11 -- including a season-high 201 against Buffalo and more than the average on four other occasions against Cincinnati (189), Tampa Bay (145), Oakland (135) and Baltimore (133).

OVERALL ANALYSIS

It's hard to imagine the Chiefs and Crennel being in a good place mentally for this game.

Neither team is what it was even a year or two ago on the field, but the Panthers at least enter on something of an uptick -- a modest 2-2 in four games -- and they still have this game's best player in Newton.

Sports Network predicted outcome: Panthers 24, Chiefs 21

12/02 11:26:15 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
NCCU 65
EILL 40
 
7:00pm Tonight
NCSU
BSU
7:00pm Tonight
PIT
CAR
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
GSW
8:00pm Tonight
UF
UNC
8:30pm Tonight
TULSA
ECU
Final
BOS 102
CHI 109
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
GSW
7:30pm Tonight
TOR
DAL
7:30pm Tonight
DET
MIL
7:30pm Tonight
ATL
NOP
8:00pm Tonight
HOU
LAC
8:00pm Tonight
OKC
NYK
8:00pm Tonight
IND
ORL
8:30pm Tonight
SAN
SAC
9:00pm Tonight
DEN
PHO
10:00pm Tonight
POR
MEM
10:30pm Tonight
LAL
MIN
Final
WMICH 21
NILL 31
 
Final
SMU 9
HOU 35
 
Final
IOWA 34
NEB 37
 
Final
SFLA 0
UCF 16
 
Final
MARS 66
WKENT 67
 
4th
KSU 27
AKR 24
 
Final
BGU 24
BST 41
 
Final
UMASS 21
BUF 41
 
Final
EMICH 16
TOL 52
 
Half
MIZZ 6
ARK 14
 
Half
SALABAMA 17
NAVY 21
 
2nd
ARZ 14
ARST 7
 
1st
AFA 7
COLST 10
 
2nd
UCLA 10
STAN 7
 
8:00pm Tonight
VT
UVA
8:30pm Tonight
TULSA
ECU
Final
NCCU 65
EILL 40
 
Final
KU 82
TENN 67
 
Final
TEXAM 87
NO 65
 
Final
NCAT 57
RAD 65
 
Final
GEOR 58
BUT 64
 
2nd
BRO 81
PVU 71
 
2nd
RIU 64
SCU 37
 
1st OT
NARZ 59
SOUTH 59
 
2nd
DART 47
MAST 46
 
Half
WRST 22
FIU 31
 
Half
XAV 38
UTEP 33
 
1st
OSU 24
JMU 12
 
1st
TXSOU 11
LAM 12
 
1st
TAMCC 21
MVSU 11
 
1st
AKAN 7
MIZST 21
 
1st
BUCK 13
PSU 18
 
1st
PROV 16
YALE 21
 
4:30pm Today
UGA
MINN
4:30pm Today
WISC
OKLA
5:00pm Tonight
Terriers
NORST
 
5:00pm Tonight
PEAY
STEPH
6:00pm Tonight
FSU
CSOU
 
6:00pm Tonight
VALPO
DRAK
6:00pm Tonight
CIN
MTST
6:00pm Tonight
SDU
PRIN
6:00pm Tonight
CSFU
USCU
6:15pm Tonight
WASU
RICE
6:30pm Tonight
GT
RIDE
7:00pm Tonight
TXPA
ALAST
7:00pm Tonight
NCSU
BSU
7:00pm Tonight
TCU
BRAD
7:00pm Tonight
WAKE
DELST
 
7:00pm Tonight
HART
EMERSON
 
7:00pm Tonight
STJ
GONZ
7:00pm Tonight
CLEM
HIGH
 
7:00pm Tonight
SYR
HC
 
7:00pm Tonight
MD
MON
7:00pm Tonight
JVST
SAV
 
7:00pm Tonight
MIAMI
SALA
7:00pm Tonight
RUTG
VANDY
7:30pm Tonight
PETE
TENST
8:00pm Tonight
MARS
CLST
8:00pm Tonight
JST
HOF
 
8:00pm Tonight
INDST
MEM
8:00pm Tonight
UF
UNC
8:00pm Tonight
LATU
SAMF
8:00pm Tonight
TULA
SELA
 
8:00pm Tonight
NEB
TENNM
8:30pm Tonight
MISS
CREI
8:30pm Tonight
PORT
MURST
9:00pm Tonight
MARQ
MSU
9:00pm Tonight
ARK
UNT
9:00pm Tonight
NCOL
STET
 
9:00pm Tonight
IND
UNCG
9:00pm Tonight
SJST
WMICH
9:05pm Tonight
MNTST
TXARL
9:30pm Tonight
UVA
LAS
9:30pm Tonight
STLU
MSST
9:30pm Tonight
COLST
PAC
10:00pm Tonight
UTAH
NDAK
10:30pm Tonight
ILL
BAY
10:30pm Tonight
UAB
UCLA
11:30pm Tonight
WASH
LBSU
11:59pm Tonight
UCSB
MERC
Final
PHI 0
NYR 3
1st
ANA 0
CHI 1
 
5:00pm Tonight
WAS
NYI
7:00pm Tonight
PIT
CAR
7:00pm Tonight
NJD
DET
7:00pm Tonight
BUF
MON
7:00pm Tonight
CLB
VAN
7:00pm Tonight
BOS
WIN
7:30pm Tonight
FLA
OTT
8:00pm Tonight
STL
EDM
8:30pm Tonight
DAL
MIN