September 21, 2019

Washington Redskins Week 11 Preview: at Carolina Panthers

The Washington Redskins head to Charlotte, NC to face their second undefeated opponent in 3 weeks in the 9-0 Carolina Panthers. The Redskins are coming off their most complete performance of the season against the New Orleans Saints in a 43-14 rout, while the Panthers pulverized the Tennessee Titans, 27-10, in their Week 10 matchup.

The Panthers are led by the man who has been dominating headlines this year for his stellar play and creative celebrations, Mr. Cam Newton. Newton has been discussed as an MVP candidate this year, with his 15 passing TDs and 6 rushing TDs. He is a dynamic playmaker, especially around the red zone, where he loves to hit his big TE Greg Olsen.

The Panthers’ rushing attack does not stop with Cam. Jonathan Stewart has carried the load for a Panthers team that really does not have productive receivers and relies on the groundwork a lot. Stewart has the second-most carries in the NFL this season (169) for 662 yards and 5 scores. The Panthers do not win with style points, but they sure know how to play power football. The front 7 for the Redskins is in for a lot of work this week.

The Panthers’ defense is one of the best Washington will see all year, and is 6th in points against at 19.4. Carolina is a bend-not-break team, and does not win games in blowouts like the New England Patriots do with their high-powered offense. However, Kirk Cousins must continue his disciplined play and not let the ball get into the hands of playmakers like veteransJosh Norman (4 INTs) and Charles “Peanut” Tillman.

Key Matchups

Redskins’ RBs vs. Luke Kuechly

The Redskins got back on track in the running game on Sunday, with over 200 rushing yards. Alfred Morris had a mini resurgence, carrying the ball 15 times for 92 yards, and Matt Jones adding 56 of his own. It is no secret that the Redskins improve their chances of winning tenfold when they run the ball well, and they have to vs. this stout Panthers defense.

Kuechly, the 2013 Defensive Player of the Year, is a force to be reckoned with for opposing offenses. The Boston College product has 63 combined tackles in 6 games, and is also very involved in pass defense as well. In the run game, he will require more than one blocker on almost every play, and the Redskins will have to find a way to clear him out of running lanes.

Joe Barry vs. Cam Newton

The Redskins historically do not fare well against mobile QBs like Mike Vick and Russell Wilson, and Cam is certainly classified as a mobile QB. The Redskins did a good job against Drew Brees last week and got pressure on him, but at least one of those sacks would have turned into a scramble if Cam were playing. The key is going to be keeping Cam stagnant and reducing his mobility.

The Redskins’ defensive ends and linebackers need to keep contain on Newton, and that starts with a good game plan by Defensive Coordinator Joe Barry. Cam  is going to make plays, but it is up to the defense to contain him and make him make plays in the pocket rather than while scrambling outside of it.

Redskins’ “Stud” of the Week

WR Jamison Crowder

Crowder has provided Kirk Cousins with a very reliable WR2/3 option to go along with DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon, and Jordan Reed (and the RBs). Crowder is a North Carolina native who just scored his first TD this past week. Look for him to have another stellar game, especially if the Panthers’ secondary keys on Jackson all game.

Prediction

Redskins 20, Panthers 28

With the exception of the difference in QB play, the Panthers are a blueprint of what the Redskins hope to become in the next few years: a powerful team built on defense and the run game. Unfortunately, Carolina is more talented and experienced, and just finds ways to win. Newton and Stewart will have no trouble finding paydirt, and the Redskins will struggle to move the ball consistently, especially on the ground.

About Seamus Kane

Seamus Kane is a Staff Writer for District Sports Page covering the Redskins and Wizards. A native of Silver Spring, MD, Seamus grew up in the area all his life rooting for the Redskins, Nationals, Wizards, Caps, and Terps. He graduated from the University of Maryland in 2014 with a degree in American History and now lives in Washington, DC. His favorite DC sports legend is Hall of Fame cornerback Darrell Green, and his favorite DC sports moment was Ryan Zimmerman's walk-off in the first-ever game at Nationals Park, a game which he attended. You can follow Seamus on Twitter @ShamelessKane

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