With Chiefs RBs, better wrap ‘em up
Six days after making Eagles rookie Bryce Brown look like a Pro Bowl running back, the Panthers face an actual Pro Bowler in Kansas City’s Jamaal Charles, the AFC’s fourth-leading rusher. The Chiefs also have 250-pound bruiser Peyton Hillis, who gashed the Panthers two years ago when he was with the Browns. Both backs are tough runners who will break through arm tackles. Kansas City ranks fourth in the NFL with 145.6 rushing yards a game. The Panthers will need to fit the run better than they did in Philly.
DeAngelo Williams’ time to shine
With running back Jonathan Stewart out with a high ankle sprain, DeAngelo Williams is expected to make his first start since a Week 5 loss to Seattle. Williams’ touches didn’t go down much, but the demotion was still jarring for the franchise’s all-time rushing leader.The Panthers’ power running game will go only as far as the offensive line will take it. If it stalls, look for more zone reads with Cam Newton.
Special teams dumpster fire
The Panthers’ special teams are like watching a NASCAR race for the big wreck. You know it’s coming, you just don’t know how bad it will be. Last week’s tally included a missed extra point by new kicker Graham Gano and a rough game for rookie punter Brad Nortman in perfect conditions in Philadelphia. On the flip side, Sherrod Martin helped preserve the win by forcing Eagles kick returner Brandon Boykin to fumble in the fourth quarter. Another positive: Ron Rivera is sticking with punt returner Joe Adams, who looks ready to break a long one. Joseph Person