Carolina Panthers (4-7) vs Seattle Seahawks (7-3-1)
8:30pm ET on NBC
On 3rd-and-10 from the Oakland 44, down 3, with a minute left on the clock, Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton found Gregg Olson over the middle for what should’ve been a first down, but Olsen couldn’t find the handle. On the following play, 4th-and-10th, Newton got sacked for a loss of 9, and the Panthers’ 35-32 loss to the Raiders was all but in the books. It was the fourth time in their last seven games that the Panthers have lost by a field goal, and was another tough day for Newton. The reigning MVP completed 14 of 29 for 246 yards, 2 TDs, and a 2nd-quarter pick-6 that put Oakland up 24-7, while getting sacked twice and losing a fumble, giving him 10 turnovers on the season, after making just 11 all of last season. And he’s on pace for 42 sacks, 9 more than last season. Hard to believe he was the most dynamic offensive player in football last season. What happened? The easiest answer is that last season was the anomaly and this is more like his norm, as his 2015 number were well above anything he’d ever before done, especially his TD/INT ratio of 3.5, which was more than double his career rate of 1.5 in his previous four seasons. But he’s also been hampered by injuries to running back Jonathan Stewart and center Ryan Kalil, among others, the departure of DB Josh Norman has hurt, and he definitely came into the season with a target on his back, one that has been hit on a number of occasions.
The Seattle Seahawks lost Sunday, in what had to have been among the ugliest, most boring games of the year, as they were outscored by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 14-5, with the last points of the game coming on a Seattle field goal with 10:39 to play in the first half. Seattle QB Russell Wilson had, by passer rating, the second-worst day of his career, completing 17 of 33 for 151 yards, 0 Tds, and 2 INTs, while getting sacked 6 times, though he did have 8 carries for 80 yards, accounting for 63% of his team’s ground game. The Seahawks’ had only one drive of more than 37 yards, but it was their last of the game and ended with an interception. Seattle’s secondary, among the best in the game, held Tampa scoreless for the final 47 minutes, but not before Tampa’s Jameis Winston found wide receiver Mike Evans for a pair of TD passes in the 1st quarter. The Seahawks’ D remains the stingiest in the NFL, giving up 17 ppg, but the offense has fallen on hard times, scoring just 20.4, down 6 points from last season. A lot of the blame can go to the ground game, which has been decimated by injuries, most recently to rookie C.J. Prosise, and to a lackluster O-line, which can’t give Wilson the time he needs.
Detroit Lions (7-4) vs New Orleans Saints (5-6)
Los Angeles Rams (4-7) vs New England Patriots (9-2)
Philadelphia Eagles (5-6) vs Cincinnati Bengals (3-7-1)
San Francisco 49ers (1-10) vs Chicago Bears (2-9)
New York Giants (8-3) vs Pittsburgh Steelers (6-5)
Washington Redskins (6-4-1) vs Arizona Cardinals (4-6-1)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-5) vs San Diego Chargers (5-6)
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