Carolina Panthers Run Game Will Be Tested Against Redskins

October 12, 2018

The Panthers own the NFL's top rushing offense, averaging a whopping 154 yards per game. Sunday they'll run into a challenge when they take on the Redskins at FedEx field. Kickoff is set for 1:00 on WBT. After last week's crazy last-minute win over the Giants, the Panthers moved to 3-1 on the season. The Redskins are leading an anemic NFC East at 2-2 on the season, but just got routed by the Saints on MNF.

The Redskins do boast a strong defense, they've only allowed 87 total points this season, and nearly half of those came in the loss to the Saints. And they're really good against the run – they give up just 92 yards per game on the ground, that's 6th in the league. They've got a pair of great edge rushers in Preston Smith and Pro Bowl linebacker Ryan Kerrigan, but the name most Panthers fan will be focusing on Sunday is...Josh Norman. The former Panther cornerback anchors the Redskins secondary, and while he hasn't made a lot of noise so far this season, the Pro Bowlers will no doubt be looking to make some plays today against his former team. “He's fearless,” said Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, who famously got in a training camp scuffle with Norman. “He's a person that's not afraid to take chances, and that's his gift and his curse.”

On the other side of the ball, the Redskins parted ways with embattled quarterback Kirk Cousins and traded for veteran Alex Smith. He's been okay – he's having a hard time finding his weapons and has thrown for just four touchdowns. The offense revolves around running back Chris Thompson, a speedy dual threat who's just 5'8. He leads the team in receiving and has elusive speed. “He's a problem,” said Panther linebacker Luke Kuechly. “He's good in space, he's good catching the ball, he can run it in between the tackles. He's kind of like Christian (McCaffrey), one of those guys that can run the ball inside and he can cause issues in the passing game.”

Of course the Redskins also have a future Hall of Famer on the roster in Adrian Peterson. The veteran running back signed with the team after first round pick Derrious Guice tore his ACL in the preseason. He's been solid, with 242 yards and three touchdowns on the season. The Redskins also have a pair of really good tight ends and some speedy receivers, including former Seahawk Paul Richardson.

This is a big game for both teams – the Redskins are looking to bounce back from their Monday night debacle, while the Panthers want to keep up their momentum following that crazy win over the Giants. The stats are on Carolina's side - since entering the league, Newton has yet to lose to the Redskins, and the Panthers have won the last five matchups. Let's keep that streak going.