CAROLINA (1-4) at LOS ANGELES RAMS (2-3)
Sunday, 4:05 p.m. EDT, FOX
BETTING LINE: Rams by 10, according to FanDuel SportsBook.
AGAINST THE SPREAD: Panthers 1-4; Rams 1-4.
SERIES RECORD: Panthers lead 13-9
LAST MEETING: Rams beat Panthers 30-27 on Sept. 8, 2019 in Charlotte
LAST WEEK: Panthers lost to 49ers 37-15; Rams lost to Cowboys 22-10.
PANTHERS OFFENSE: OVERALL (32), RUSH (27), PASS (28), SCORING (24T).
PANTHERS DEFENSE: OVERALL (20), RUSH (27), PASS (17), SCORING (20T).
RAMS OFFENSE: OVERALL (26), RUSH (32), PASS (18), SCORING (29).
RAMS DEFENSE: OVERALL (11), RUSH (11), PASS (13), SCORING (16).
TURNOVER DIFFERENTIAL: Panthers minus-2 (23T); Rams minus-5 (29th).
PANTHERS PLAYER TO WATCH: DE Brian Burns. The Pro Bowl edge rusher has four sacks in five games and continues to be a dominant force for Carolina even when he’s not getting to the quarterback. Burns will look to fluster Matthew Stafford and the Rams, who have given up the most sacks in the league (21) this season.
RAMS PLAYER TO WATCH: RB Darrell Henderson Jr. has mostly been featuring in the passing game the past two weeks, making seven grabs for 42 yards, and he did not carry the ball against Dallas. But with Cam Akers out, the fourth-year tailback from Memphis will get a chance to prove himself against a suspect Carolina run defense.
KEY MATCHUP: Panthers third down offense vs. Rams third down defense. The Panthers have been abysmal on third downs this season, converting just 24.2% of their opportunities into first downs. P.J. Walker is expected to start at quarterback this week in place of the injured Baker Mayfield, who has struggled mightily since joining the Panthers in July. The Rams are 22nd in the league in third down defense so there will be chances for the Panthers to move the chains.
KEY INJURIES: Mayfield is listed as doubtful with a high ankle sprain, so Walker will likely make his third career NFL start this week. ... The Panthers gave up 37 points last week to the 49ers, but that was without four of their defensive starters. S Jeremy Chinn (hamstring) remains on IR, but the team was hoping to get CB Jaycee Horn (hip), S Xavier Woods (hamstring) and LB Frankie Luvu (shoulder) — their top playmaker on that side of the ball — back this week. Horn and Luvu are questionable, while Woods was removed from the injury report. ... The Rams held several top players out of practice early in the week because of minor injuries, although none was expected to miss the game. The group includes WR Cooper Kupp (foot), DT Aaron Donald (foot) and TE Tyler Higbee (ankle). ... C Brian Allen (knee) will miss his fifth straight game. Matt Skura could start after being signed to the active roster. ... LG David Edwards (concussion) will miss at least four games after being placed on injured reserve. ... Akers won't play after missing two days of practice for what the team said was personal reasons.
SERIES NOTES: This will be just the fourth meeting between the Panthers and Rams going back to 2013. ... This is Carolina’s second trip to Los Angeles since the Rams moved back in 2016. They won 13-10 at the LA Coliseum in November 2016.
STATS AND STUFF: The Panthers fired Matt Rhule on Monday and hired Steve Wilks as their interim head coach. ... Wilks appointed Al Holcomb as the defensive coordinator to take over for Phil Snow, who was also fired Monday. ... The Panthers have lost 11 of their past 12 games. ... Carolina hasn’t won a road game since Nov. 14, 2021, when it beat the Arizona Cardinals 34-10 behind two touchdown runs by Cam Newton. ... Walker is 2-0 as a Panthers starting quarterback. ... RB Christian McCaffrey is one of just four players with 100 yards from scrimmage in four games this season. ... Carolina’s offensive line has allowed 17 sacks this season. ... The Rams have rushed for 100 yards once this season, finishing with 100 yards on 20 carries against Arizona in Week 3. They have not gained more than 65 yards on the ground in any of their other four games. ... Kupp ranks third in the NFL with 267 yards after the catch. ... Stafford has been sacked on 13.3% of his pass attempts in his past two games (12 sacks on 90 drop-backs). … Donald has six of Los Angeles’ 14 tackles for loss. ... The Rams have been outscored 47-3 in the fourth quarter this season. ... The defense ranks fourth in red zone defense, allowing four touchdowns in 11 possessions (36.4%).
FANTASY TIP: Here comes the ‘get well’ game for Stafford and everyone else in the Rams’ pass game not named Kupp. The Panthers gave up eight completions of at least 15 yards to the 49ers.
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