Week 16: Oakland Raiders At Carolina Panthers

Quarterback Carson Palmer #3 of the Oakland Raiders stands in the huddle against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on November 10, 2011 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Carolina Panthers v New Orleans Saints
Quarterback Carson Palmer #3 of the Oakland Raiders stands in the huddle against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on November 10, 2011 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Carson Palmer has had a difficult season playing quarterback for a subpar team like the Raiders. He has not had the greatest protection from his offensive line and he has rarely gotten the support from the other skill-position players, but he has hung in there and played competitively. He was not on top of his game vs. the Chiefs in Week 15, but he did not make any mistakes.
Winner Cam Newton appears to be back in form. While the season has been disappointing overall for both his team and himself, Newton’s talent is undeniable. In the 31-7 victory over the Chargers in Week 15, Newton completed 19-of-33 passes for 231 yards with two TDs. That allowed the Panthers to take charge and they did not relinquish their command.
The running game was in good form against the Chiefs. Darren McFadden rushed for 110 yards and if he can come through with a similar effort against the Panthers, the Raiders will have a chance for a rare road win. Denarius Moore and Darrius Heyward-Bey are two of the main targets for Palmer and both can get down the field and make big plays.
Winner The Panthers got a very aggressive game from wide receiver Steve Smith in their win over the Chargers. Smith’s statistics were not overwhelming – he caught six passes for 57 yards – but one of those receptions was a touchdown and he did a solid job of blocking. DeAngelo Williams is a solid running threat who can ease the pressure on Newton.
The Raiders are coming off a shutout, but when the opponent is the Kansas City Chiefs, you have to take the achievement with a grain of salt. The Raiders have had problems playing consistently on the defensive side of the ball. They rank 26th against the pass and 23rd overall. Outside linebacker Philip Wheeler leads the team with 104 tackles.
Winner The Panthers are playing much more competitively, but they have not been consistent at this point. The Panthers held the Chargers to 121 passing yards and they have the 10th ranked pass defense in the league. Defensive ends Charles Johnson and Greg Hardy have combined for 21.5 sacks while rookie linebacker Luke Kuechly is a tackling machine.
Special Teams
Winner Sebastian Janikowski continues to do a solid job for the Raiders. He connected on five field goals in the win over the Chiefs, providing the Raiders with all the points they would score in the game. Janikowski still has the strongest leg in the league. Punter Shane Lechler still has plenty of power and he is averaging 47.6 yards per punt.
The Panthers have struggled on special teams. Graham Gano has made all five of his FG attempts since taking over at the placekicker position. Punter Brad Nortman has been a liability. He is averaging 42.4 yards per punt, but his net is just 35.7 yards per kick.

The Winner Is

Carolina Panthers v New Orleans Saints
Winner Panthers
3 out of 4

The Panthers have endured a disappointing season, but they have played much better football in the second half of the season. Jerry Richardson may not have the patience to let the coaching staff come back for the 2013 season. However, it would be wrong to blame head coach Ron Rivera for this team’s shortcomings.


  1. OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 20:  Matt Schaub #8 of the Baltimore Ravens takes practice throws during pregame against the Oakland Raiders at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on September 20, 2015 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) Johnny Manziel (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
    Week 12 Tale Of The Tape: Baltimore Ravens At Cleveland Browns

    The Ravens have been enduring a most difficult season, and circumstances got even harder last Sunday in the win over the Rams when Joe Flacco’s season came to an end late in the game with an ACL tear.

  2. FOXBORO, MA - NOVEMBER 8:  Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots celebrates a touchdown by LeGarrette Blount #29 in the first half against the Washington Redskins at Gillette Stadium on November 8, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images) DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 15:  Quarterback Brock Osweiler #17 of the Denver Broncos looks on from the bench Kansas City Chiefs at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on November 15, 2015 in Denver, Colorado. The Chiefs defeated the Broncos 29-13.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
    Week 12 Tale Of The Tape: New England Patriots At Denver Broncos

    Tom Brady has had MVP-type numbers and consistently excellent production through the first 10 games of the season.

  3. Ben Roethlisberger Russell Wilson (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
    Week 12 Tale Of The Tape: Pittsburgh Steelers At Seattle Seahawks

    Ben Roethlisberger appears to be indomitable at the quarterback position, and he is the key to the Steelers’ season.

See All Tales of the Tape
Shine A Light On The Holiday Season With ‘Giving Tuesday’
Food For Families Drive

Listen Live