The Carolina Panthers are looking to tread water and get their record above .500 for the first time since week 3 as they host the New England Patriots in a Week 9 interconference match up.
Here’s what to expect in tomorrow’s match-up.
Walker Gets The Start?
Sam Darnold suffered a concussion against the Falcons in Week 8 and is listed as questionable this week. If Darnold can’t go, expect backup quarterback PJ Walker to get the start. Don’t expect Walker to do too much in terms of taking risks throwing deep-especially when he is known to be unaware of certain situations. At times, Walker is inconsistent when it comes to deciding to take a risk versus throwing the ball away. He’ll have his opportunities, but for the most part, he will stick with short passes that move the chains and manage the clock. Doing so will dictate the pace of the game for Carolina.
Third Down Conversions
Against Atlanta, the Panthers’ offense converted 10 of 17 third-down opportunities. Converting third-down opportunities at this clip extends drives and gives the Panthers’ defense the rest it needs to help in close games. Expect the Panthers to run, for the most part, to win the time of possession.
After missing five games with a hamstring injury, Christian McCaffrey is designated to return to action this week. In his absence, the Panthers are 1-4. If McCaffrey is to make his return tomorrow, expect him to be limited in action – taking a majority of snaps on opening drives and just being a situational back afterwards, until the Panthers’ are confident enough to let McCaffrey play in full.
Gilmore Revenge Game?
Stephon Gilmore admitted that this game is personal for him after the Patriots traded him to the Panthers weeks ago. He also didn’t like how his former team handled his quad injury.
“A lot went on with that I didn’t agree with,” Gilmore said recently. “And now that I’m here (Carolina), I am able to do the things I need to do and get me back and be ready to where I need to be.”
Gilmore will be prominent tomorrow, as the Panthers’ defense continue fill the void left by rookie DB Jaycee Horn who is still recovering from his foot injury.