Byron K. Dixon Jr. (@BKD_TV)
Always intriguing how the NFL schedule has a unique way of setting up intriguing match-ups that go beyond the Xs & Os. Every year there are games that are circled on the docket that will grab the headlines no matter the outcome. This upcoming Monday night the Carolina Panthers (5-8) will travel to the Nations Capital to face the Washington Redskins (7-5-1).
Carolina Panthers one year removed from their Super Bowl 50 birth have been one of the biggest disappointments this season. One of the biggest reasons is the departure of All-Pro CB Josh Norman. The defensive secondary that was lead by Norman now has two rookies (James Bradberry and Daryl Worley) that have been through some serious growing pains, to say the least. Head coach Ron Rivera said “I think the guys know what to expect from Josh, he’s a tough player”, cameras will surely keep an eye on that toughness of Norman’s Monday night. This Panthers team is all but eliminated from playoff participation.
The Redskins are in control of their own destiny. Kirk Cousins has been playing very well this season and will be in line for a big contract this off-season. Washington’s offense has the capability to put up big numbers and give this team a chance to win. The key as of late for the Redskins has been the defense and its ability to get after opposing QB’s and create turnovers. Led by the free agent signing of Josh Norman, his tough attitude and aggressive nature on the field has rubbed off on his teammates. Washington has a one-game lead for the final wildcard spot in the NFC and looks to keep that lead with three games remaining.
Carolina ripped the Redskins in a 44-16 home victory last season. That included the defense forcing five turnovers.”Hopefully, we don’t turn it over five times,” Cousins said. “You’d like to think we’re a more mature team and you protect the ball better.” Cousins is not sure if he will have to content with linebacker Luke Kuechly who has missed the last three games but has returned to practice. Luke Kuechly who has missed the last three games with a concussion is listed as questionable.
The Redskins with the extra time hope to get linebackers Su’a Cravens (elbow) and Will Compton (knee sprain) back to add depth to their improving defense.
Carolina leads the all-time series 7-5, they’ve won the last four games in this series.