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Panthers preview: Dec. 13 vs. Denver Broncos

Game: Denver Broncos (4-8) at Carolina Panthers (4-8), 1 p.m.

TV: CBS (Andrew Catalon play-by-play, James Lofton color analyst, Sherree Burruss sideline reporter)

RADIO: WBT-AM 1110/WBT-FM 99.3 in Charlotte is flagship station (Mick Mixon play-by-play, Kurt Coleman and Jim Szoke color analysts, Kristen Balboni sideline reporter)

THE SERIES: Denver leads series 5-1, including a 24-10 Super Bowl 50 victory over the Panthers in Santa Clara, Cal. Carolina’s only victory came in 2008 in Charlotte by a 30-10 score.

RANKINGS AMONG NFL (Through week 13): Carolina offense – 20th overall, 20th rushing, 15th passing. Carolina defense – 20th overall, 15th rushing, 19th passing. Denver offense – 25th overall, 12th rushing, 26th passing. Denver defense – 14th overall, 26th rushing, 8th passing.

BY THE NUMBERS: 12-13 – Carolina’s all-time record following the bye week. Last year’s loss during the week 7 bye ended a four-year winning streak after the bye.

NOTABLE: After two Carolina players were played on the COVID-19/injury list last week, eight more were placed on the list this week. That includes six starters – defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos from last and wide receivers D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel, defensive tackles Derrick Brown and Zach Kerr and linebacker Shaq Thompson this week. All six of those did not practice on Wednesday and Thursday. On Friday, Gross-Matos, Samuel, Brown and Thompson returned to practice and would appear likely to play in Sunday’s game….
Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey was originally expected to play after missing his third straight game and ninth game of the season. An ankle sprain cost him six games earlier in the season and a shoulder injury has cost him the last three. But after McCaffrey was limited in practice on Wednesday and didn’t practice on Thursday and Friday due to his shoulder injury and a sore thigh he injured during personal training last week, Carolina coach Matt Rhule said he was unlikely to play….
Christian McCaffrey grew up in the Denver suburb of Highlands Ranch, Col., and attended Valor Christian High School. His father Ed McCaffrey was one of Hall of Fame Denver quarterback John Elway’s top targets and still ranks fifth in career receptions (462) and receiving yards (6,200) in Broncos’ franchise history….
Another loss would give Carolina its 16th losing season in the team’s 26-year history and third straight. Only in four previous years have the Panthers ended the regular season on winning streaks of four or more games – seven in 1996 (12-4 record), five in 2003 (11-5) and four in 2012 (7-9) and 2014 (7-8-1). The Panthers have seven winning seasons, the last in 2017, and three break-even seasons in their history….
Carolina defensive back Jeremy Chinn won NFL defensive player of the month for the second straight month following his two touchdowns in 10 seconds effort in the 28-27 loss at Minnesota on Nov. 29. Chinn’s defensive touchdowns were the 41st and 42nd in franchise history and the first since Thomas Davis returned a fumble 46 yards for a touchdown against Arizona on Oct. 30, 2016….
Four Broncos have Carolinas connections – head coach Vic Fangio was Panthers’ defensive coordinator from 1995 to 1998, quarterbacks coach Mike Shula was a Panthers’ assistant coach from 2011 to 2017 with five years (2013-17) as offensive coordinator, defensive end Bradley Chubb played at N.C. State (2014-17) and defensive lineman Sylvester Williams played at North Carolina (2011-12).