Panthers Back in Action Against the Jets

Sharon Thorsland
November 26, 2017 - 7:06 am

USA Today Images

The Panthers begin the final stretch of the regular season Sunday, taking on the New York Jets at the Meadowlands.  Kick-off is set for 1:05 on WBT.  Both teams are coming off a bye week - but while the Panthers started their break on a three game winning streak and are 7-3 on the season, the Jets have lost three in a row and four of their last five.  That dropped them to 4-6 on the year.

The Jets are in the midst of another rebuilding year after parting ways with several key veterans this offseason, including receivers Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall and former starting quarterbacks Ryan Fitzpatrick and Geno Smith.  Running the offense now is 38-year old Josh McCown.  The veteran has thrown for over 2200 yards and a career high 14 touchdowns, and his 69 percent completion percentage ranks third in the NFL.  “Man, he’s good,” said Panther defensive tackle KK Short.  “He can make plays, run game and pass game – he can be deadly.”   McCown will have his hands full with Short and the Panthers tenacious defense, though, which ranks 2nd overall and 4th against the pass allowing just 197 yards per game. 

McCown has a pair of playmakers in 2nd year receiver Robby Anderson and former Seahawk Jermaine Kearse, the pair has combined for 70 catches and nine touchdowns.  Tight end Austin Sefarian-Jenkins is a big target, he 39 grabs.  The Jets running attack features a trio of players, headlined by Pro Bowler Matt Forte.  He teams with Bilal Powell and Elijah McGuire.  They’ve been inconsistent, though, averaging just 101 yards on the ground per game, that's 21st in the league.  And things won’t get any easier on Sunday when they’ll face a Panther run defense that is allowing just over 80 yards a game, that's 3rd in the NFL.

The Jets run defense is at the other end of the spectrum, they're ranked 23rd in the league but have been better of late, allowing just 93 yards on the ground their past five games.  They run a 3-4 scheme, anchored by Pro Bowl defensive linemen Leonard Williams and Muhammed Wilkerson.  And keep an eye out for former Panthers defensive end Kony Ealy, he has one sack and an interception. Inside linebacker DeMario Davis is having a standout season, he leads the team in tackles and has 3.5 sacks. 

The Jets secondary is playing well, they rank 16th in the NFL allowing just 229 passing yards a game.  They’re young, though, starting a pair of rookies at safety in Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye.  But they’re not playing like first year guys.  “They got comfortable quick,” said Panther receiver Devin Funchess.  “They’re confident and they’re playing fast.  It’s going to be fun playing against those guys.”


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