How have the Panthers fared in 2021?
Week1: The Panthers opened up with the Jets. Slow start to the game, but the team was up 16-0 at the half. They lazily cruised in to a 19-14 victory with the Jets scoring a TD with under two minutes left to make it closer than it was.
Week 2: The defense dominated the Saints. Jameis Winston had two interceptions 0 passing TDs. Another big lead at the half (17-0) and another easy cruise to victory 26-7.
Week 3: The Panthers got the hapless Texans with Davis Mills making his first start. The team actually kept it close in the first half with the halftime score 7-6. Christian McCaffrey went down in the 2nd quarter with a hamstring injury. However, the 2nd half was dominated by the Panthers. The game ended 24-9.
Week 4: The first loss of the season for the Panthers who were playing without McCaffrey. The game started off fairly evenly with the two teams trading TDs and a 14-13 halftime lead for the Panthers. The third quarter is where it fell apart. Two Cowboys’ TDs and two Sam Darnold INTs gave the ‘Boys a 26-14 lead at the beginning of the 4th. Carolina brought it back to within 8, but the Cowboys were able to run out the final 4 1/2 minutes of game time.
Week 5: Another game without McCaffrey for the Panthers and another L. This one seemed to be going the Panthers way early when they built a 15-6 lead at the half. The two Eagles’ FGs came after a Darnold INT and a 31 second drive before half. The Eagles had two quick turnovers to start the second half, but the Panthers’ offense was not able to take advantage with a 3 and out and an interception of their own. The Panthers had a blocked punt and interception on their final two drives in a one score game. They were only able to muster 3 points in the second half and the Eagles won 21-18. Not Sam Darnold’s best day with 3 INTs on the day and an abysmal 18.4 QBR.
Panthers injury concerns
The biggest concern has to be their best player Christian McCaffrey. He has been out with a Hamstring injury the past two weeks and those were both losses for the Panthers. Christian was a limited participant in practice on Wednesday and then downgraded to a DNP on Thursday. Panthers HC Matt Rhule said McCaffrey looks to be a 50/50 chance on playing or not this week. I don’t think Christian will play. Shaq Thompson is the only other significant injury I see. He missed last week with a foot injury and appears he will likely miss this week too. Kamal Martin was added to the injury report Thursday with a concussion. I don’t think there is enough time for him to go through protocol before the game, but he is just a special teamer.
Panthers head coach Matt Rhule says RB Christian McCaffrey is 50-50 to play on Sunday: “I couldn’t go either way right now.”— Field Yates (@FieldYates) October 13, 2021
Vikings injury concerns
Much like the Panthers the Vikings concern is for their top RB. Dalvin Cook was also a limited participant on Wednesday and a full participant Thursday. He appears to be on track to play, but we’ll see how it works out. The inured list was long on Wednesday with Anthony Barr, Justin Jefferson, Alexander Mattison, Michael Pierce, Adam Thielen and Ben Ellefson not participating in practice at all. Pierce, Thielen, Jefferson and Ellefson were still non-participants on Thursday. I don’t expect Michael Pierce to come back this week, which could be trouble if McCaffrey does play for the Panthers. I am very worried about Thielen and Jefferson not participating. Jefferson told reporters he expects to play, but if both are out, it is trouble for the Vikings. I don’t see the Vikings being able to move the ball without at least one of their top WRs. Cam Dantzler is back from the COVID list.
Some good news for the Vikings at practice today: Dalvin Cook, Anthony Barr, and Alexander Mattison are participating though they may be limited.— Chad Graff (@ChadGraff) October 14, 2021
On the other hand, Michael Pierce isn’t practicing and is probably out Sunday. And Thielen and Jefferson stretched then walked off.
My game prediction
I don’t have a strong feeling on this one. I expected a better showing last week and was very disappointed in the 2nd half effort. The Vikings offense is really struggling to score TDs. However, the Panthers have also struggled without Christian McCaffrey and I don’t trust Sam Darnold to put up points. I think this is a lower scoring game with both teams not having their All Pro RBs fully healthy. I am going to say 20-17 Vikings, but I think that might be me looking through purple shaded glasses. The Vikings are favored by 1 point currently.
Who wins on Sunday?
This poll is closed