Preview and Prediction: Oakland Raiders vs. Carolina Panthers
By Austin Gayle
Raiders’ to Best the Panthers in the Trenches
The Raiders’ big, physical offensive line has found their way into the headlines in recent weeks because of their unparalleled size and ability to keep Carr upright and spring their three-headed monster out of its cage.
There will be no reason to edit the front page after Sunday’s contest.
With veteran left tackle Donald Penn and former Baltimore Ravens guard Kelechi Osemele leading the charge, the Raiders’ offensive line has often left opposing defenses in their wake or peeled them off the bottom of their cleats.
Though the Panthers’ front four has previously been a strength of their defense, they have failed to turn dominant flashes into a consistent beam of light so far this season, and the injuries continue to pile up.
With former Pro Bowl linebacker Luke Kuechly officially out with a concussion, the Raiders’ big bullies should have an easier time holding double teams at the point of attack, for they won’t have to worry as much about moving on to secure blocks at the second level.
Kuechly leads the Panthers with 102 combined tackles (71 solo) and six pass deflections.
In the trenches, the Panthers will be without their top edge-rusher in Mario Addison, as the sixth-year veteran will miss the game in Oakland because of a foot injury. He leads the team with 6.5 sacks.
With that being said, Panthers interior defenders Kawann Short and Star Lotulelei should still keep the Raiders’ offense line occupied down low, but there are few threats outside of them that should cause any type of havoc.
Look for Carr to again thrive with great protection and for the Raiders’ backfield to have great success on the ground.