Panthers preview: Dec. 27 at Washington Football Team
Game: Carolina Panthers (4-10) at Washington Football Team (6-8), 4:05 p.m.
TV: CBS Network (Ian Eagle play-by-play, Charles Davis color analyst, Evan Washburn 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: Washington leads series 9-6, including last year’s 29-21 win on Dec. 1 in Charlotte that was the last game Ron Rivera was Panthers’ head coach; Rivera was fired by owner David Tepper two days later. Nearly a month later – on Jan. 1, 2020 – Washington hired Rivera as its head coach. Washington was the Carolinas’ favorite NFL team for years – and remains so with many local fans – until the Panthers were born in 1995. Washington won the first six meetings in the series from 1995 to 2001 and Carolina recently had a five-game winning streak in the rivalry from 2009 to 2016.
RANKINGS AMONG NFL (Through week 15): Carolina offense – 20th overall, 20th rushing, 16th passing. Carolina defense – 19th overall, 18th rushing, 19th passing. Washington offense – 29th overall, 25th rushing, 25th passing. Washington defense – 4th overall, 13rd rushing, 3rd passing.
BY THE NUMBERS: 2-6 – Carolina Panthers’ record against former head coaches. The only two wins came when the first Panthers head coach, Dom Capers, was defensive coordinator for the Green Bay Packers in 2015 and 2017. Carolina is 2-4 against Capers and 0-2 against John Fox.
NOTABLE: First-year Washington coach Ron Rivera is Carolina’s all-time winningest head coach with a 76-63-1 record that includes four playoff berths, three division titles and one NFC championship….
Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey is expected to play to miss his sixth straight game and 12th game of the season. An ankle sprain cost him six games earlier in the season and shoulder and thigh injuries have cost him the last five games….
On Monday, Carolina fired Marty Hurney after his two stints (2002-12 and 2017-20) as the winningest general manager in team history (109-116 record). There’s already been speculation Hurney could be hired by Washington….
Panthers defensive end Brian Burns is among the NFL statistical leaders in rushing the passer; He’s sixth in quarterback pressures with 34. He also has 8.0 sacks, 20 quarterback hits and 56 total tackles….
Carolina became the first team since the modern draft to select all defensive players last April. All 10 players selected have played in at least three games and six of the 10 have started games, with linebacker Jeremy Chinn and tackle starting 13 times each, cornerback Troy Pride starting eight times and tackle Bravvion Roy starting seven times….
Five Washington players played for the Panthers – Linebacker Thomas Davis (2005-18), cornerback Cole Luke (2017-19), quarterback Kyle Allen (2018-19) and linebacker Jordan Kunaszyk (2019) – and, including Rivera, 17 former Panthers staffers are now with Washington defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio, offensive coordinator Scott Turner, wide receivers coach Jim Hostler, tight ends coach Pete Hoener, offensive line coach John Matsko, assistant offensive line coach Travelle Wharton, assistant wide receivers coach Drew Terrell, defensive line coach Sam Mills III, linebackers coach Steve Russ, assistant defensive backs coach Richard Rodgers, special teams coach Ben Jacobs, offensive quality control coach Tedd Storm, defensive quality control coach Vincent Rivera, coaching intern Jennifer King, senior vice president of football administration Rob Rogers and director of pro personnel Eric Stokes.