Scott Fowler

Which Washington team shows up Sunday to play Carolina Panthers?

Which Washington team will show up Sunday? The one that trounced New Orleans a week ago, or the one with at least two bad losses (Miami, New York Jets)?
Which Washington team will show up Sunday? The one that trounced New Orleans a week ago, or the one with at least two bad losses (Miami, New York Jets)? AP

Carolina quarterback Cam Newton said this week the Panthers are going to try to get to “100” on Sunday.

What did he mean? It had nothing to do with a perfect grade. It had nothing to do with trying to score 100 points. Newton just likes to say things a little differently, and he was purposely leaving out the hyphen for “10-0,” as in the record Carolina would have if it can beat Washington.

Washington is dangerous. This could be a Carolina rout if Washington plays poorly, for the 4-5 team has played some real stinkers this season (a 14-point loss to the New York Jets; a loss to Miami).

But if the Panthers get the Washington team that showed up last week, or the one that earlier this season beat St. Louis by two touchdowns, this could be another dramatic one.

▪  The Panthers are becoming the anti-homecoming game for their opponents. The NFL’s unofficial homecoming opponent is New Orleans – the Saints defense is so awful that defensive coordinator Rob Ryan just got fired. Each of Carolina’s past two opponents (Tennessee and Washington) came off huge wins and huge point totals against New Orleans. Now, for Washington, it’s back to reality.

▪  Good defense is key, of course, but in the NFL you have to score to win. The Panthers are averaging 28.3 points per game as a team, third in the NFL. Their 255 points are the most through nine games in a season in franchise history. It’s interesting to note that No. 2 (250 in 2005) and No. 3 (214 in 2013) were produced by playoff teams.

▪  Washington is one of only two teams this season (Denver is the other) that has not allowed a 300-yard passer in 2015.

▪  The Panthers have rushed for 100 or more yards for 20 straight games, tied with Seattle for longest active streak in the NFL. I feel like Jonathan Stewart is going to get 100 by himself on Sunday.

▪  My prediction: Carolina 34, Washington 20.

Fowler: sfowler@charlotteobserver.com; Twitter: @scott_fowler

  Comments