Browns-Panthers Week 16 Preview


Carolina Panthers*

Additions: QB Joe Webb, WR Jason Avant, WR Jerricho Cotchery, TE Ed Dickson, CB Antoine Cason, FS Thomas DeCoud

Subtractions: WR Steve Smith, WR Ted Ginn, WR Domenik Hixon, WR Brandon LaFell, CB Captain Munnerlyn, FS Mike Mitchell

Biggest storyline: Rarely does a team lose their top four wide receivers. In the Panthers case, they also lost longtime face of the franchise, Steve Smith. What makes replacing these receivers an even bigger deal, is Cam Newton's offseason ankle surgery, which will sideline him until July. Minicamps are usually where chemistry is initiated. The Panthers offense might be playing catchup to start the season.

Biggest storyline part II: Speaking of Newton, isn't it amazing he's started all 48 games in his career? Besides maybe Robert Griffin III, there's no quarterback who endures a more brutal Sunday than Newton. The former Heisman winner has rushed for 2,032 yards in his three-year career, with 111 touches being his lowest carry total. He's a durable 6-foot-5, 245-pounder, but coming off of ankle surgery, you'd think Carolina would try and limit his amount of carries.

Biggest storyline part III: Carolina's front seven is as good as it gets in the NFL. Luke Kuechly sets the tone at middle linebacker and was defensive player of the year in 2013. Defensive ends Greg Hardy and Charles Johnson combined for 26 sacks and up the middle the Panthers were ranked second in rushing yards allowed per contest.

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