Sunday, November 29, 2009

Hours before kickoff...

Couple items on the Panthers-Jets game.

  • WR Steve Smith was listed as questionable on Saturday. He hasn't been on the injury report all week, but he has sore ribs. It's an injury he suffered against Atlanta a few weeks ago. The guy is like a piece of iron--ultra tough. If he can breathe, he'll play. A little concerning, though, that he shows up on the injury report on Saturday.
  • Panthers DE Charles Johnson did not make the trip to NY, so he'll miss the game with a pectoral injury. Head Coach John Fox said earlier in the week that Julius Peppers "messed up" hand (read broken), has improved. The Panthers haven't recorded a sack in 3 weeks (their last was November 8th). That would be helpful if they can get pressure on rookie QB Mark Sanchez.
  • The Jets average nearly 164 yards per game in rushing, so stopping them on the ground is job one for the defense. Sanchez has shown, however, that he can sling the ball around. Just not often enough. A guy like Sherrod Martin could have a big afternoon, if Sanchez gets a little loose with the offense.
  • FB Brad Hoover likely returns to the lineup after missing time with a sprained ankle. The guy is the consummate professional. He does the thankless job of paving the way for the RB's, carries the rock a few times a game, gets beat up physically, and keeps coming back with a grin on his face. The Panthers missed Hoover in his absence, more so after rookie Tony Fiametta was hampered by a concussion. Hoover could be the cog that helps the Panther offense get moving as they try to make a very difficult run at a playoff spot.

Carolina's 4-6 record means, they likely have to go no worse than 5-1 to grab a wild-card spot. A tall order indeed, but they can get a win against the Jets first.

Prediction: Carolina 21-14

Mike Solarte

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