CHARLOTTE, N.C. (CHARLOTTE SPORTS LIVE) – After the Bears win over Chicago on Thursday, the Panthers remain the only team without a win in the NFL this season.
They’ll aim to change that this weekend when they head to Detroit for a big Week 5 test.
It marks the third meeting between these two teams in less than one calendar year. Of course, we all remember Carolina’s Christmas gift to its fans last season when the black and blue ran wild over the Lions to the tune of a franchise-record 320 rushing yards.
Additionally, there has been a lot of change on both sides since then.
After the Lions came to the bank and won this season’s preseason finale, both teams have had entirely different paths to get to this weekend.
Detroit looks like a well-oiled machine at 3-1, while the Panthers are looking for many answers at 0-4. One big area of concern is the running game, as Carolina ranks 21st in the league with just over 95 yards per game.
Panthers head coach Frank Reich feels his stable of backs responded well to being challenged this week and knows how imperative it is to be effective on the ground.
“At the end of the day, if you want to be a championship football team, most of the time, you have to be good running the football,” Reich said. “You don’t have to be the best in the league at running the ball, but you gotta be effective running the ball.”
That’s exactly what you need to be able to keep defenses guessing.
“So many good things come off of that,” Reich continued. “It helps Pass protection, helps you in the play-action game. Bryce is our quarterback, and he has a gift where we can get more and more into some of the RPO stuff. He can do all the advantage throws, and he can wheel and deal and create some space for himself to be creative. Those are all things that we’ll continue to build.”
The only thing is, Carolina is up against one of the top units in the league as the Lions rank 4th in the NFL in total yards allowed per game and first against the run, only giving up 60 yards on the ground each week.
Quite the challenge for a Panthers offense that has only gained 127 yards rushing combined in the last two games.
Despite being limited on Wednesday and Thursday, Miles Sanders was a full participant this morning, so he is good to go for Sunday.