Carolina Panthers vs. Washington Redskins: 3 Matchups to Keep an Eye on
For the Redskins, this week's game represents the changing of the guard at the quarterback position. Rex Grossman played his way out of the starting gig and now it's John Beck's turn to take the snaps. The quarterback controversy won't go away until one of these two quarterbacks strings together a couple of good performances.
Carolina has looked good in its five losses this season, but the bottom line is that the Panthers are making it a weekly habit of finding a way to lose. Against the Redskins, the Panthers must find away to come out in the win column at home.
Let's take a look at three matchups that will play a big factor in Sunday's game.
DeAngelo Hall vs. Steve Smith
DeAngelo Hall and Steve Smith Battling for the ball back when Hall was with Atlanta
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The rivalry between Steve Smith and DeAngelo Hall goes way back. Over the years the two have faced off with one another many times and will do so once again this Sunday.
Both cornerbacks love to dish out the trash talk and it has led to some scraps in the past. Hall won't be checking Smith by himself on Sunday, but when the two meet, you can expect to see plenty of emotion.
Smith has revitalized his game this season with the help of Cam Newton, while Hall remains a solid veteran corner in Washington.
All of the trash talk on the field is nice, but what makes this matchup interesting is the implications it will have on the game. Smith is averaging 112.5 yards per game and has consistently torched opposing defenses this season.
It will be up to Hall for the majority of the game to keep the speedy wide receiver at bay.
Adam Carriker vs. Byron Bell
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The Redskins run a 3-4 defensive scheme, which means this matchup won't always be taking place. But when Adam Carriker is rushing from the outside, he will be going up against undrafted rookie Byron Bell.
Jeff Otah was placed on injured reserve for the third time in four years on Wednesday, and now it will be up to Bell to carry the load for the rest of the season. Bell has already started two games this year and has held his own for the most part.
On Sunday, Carriker will look to get the best of him. Through six games, Carriker has three sacks—a career-high for the fourth-year pro—and is playing the best that he's ever played since he's been in the NFL.
Expect the Redskins to key in on the rookie right tackle and try to expose him. If so, Carriker will have his chances to lay out the Panthers' rookie quarterback.
Redskins' Run Game vs. Panthers' Run Defense
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Who knows what the Panthers' record would be if they had a decent run defense. Odds are that it would be improved by at least one win, but that isn't the case. As of now, the Panthers boast the second-worst run defense in the NFL.
The loss of Thomas Davis and Jon Beason for the season cannot be understated. Without those two, especially Beason, Carolina has been torn apart on the ground.
Washington struggled to run the football last week, but they will have a great opportunity to get their run game on track against the Panthers. Ryan Torain has been banged up this season and was ineffective against Philadelphia. Yet a big game is not out of the equation considering the matchup.
No matter how well the Panthers' offense plays, it won't matter. The game will come down to whether or not Carolina can stop Washington's run game and get its offense off the field.
This is the most important matchup of Sunday's game.