Why the Carolina Panthers Could but Won't Win on Sunday

CINCINNATI - SEPTEMBER 19: Bernard Scott of the Cincinnati Bengals carries the ball against the Baltimore Ravens at Paul Brown Stadium on September 19, 2010 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Bengals beat the Ravens 15-10. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

There are reasons why the Carolina Panthers could pull off their first win over the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday. They are few, but there are some ways Carolina could pull off an upset — if this game is characterized as such.

Of course there’s also the flip-side, which is easier to relate to everyone, which is how and why Carolina should lose.

Either way, it’s not easy to convey. I can’t seriously pick the Panthers to win this one for starters, because I have a bad poker face.

Taken seriously for a moment, Carolina can win if it uses it’s running game to it’s fullest potential. Also, one of Cincinnati’s cornerbacks is listed as doubtful for this game, so that could open up the passing game a little more for the Panthers, if need be.

Carolina’s defense has also been a little better than average. It has yet to hit it’s stride, but the linebacker play has been solid, the defensive front has to pick up it’s game, and the defensive secondary is almost there.

Also, the change-up at quarterback could be just what the Panthers need to breath a little life into a stagnating offense. In order to see success from the QB though, the offensive line will need to make protecting Jimmy Clausen a No. 1 priority.

Now the other side of the coin, and all the reasons Carolina will lose this game.

The running game (to date) has been ineffective. Jonathan Stewart hasn’t had but a handful of carries, while DeAngelo Williams doesn’t get into the secondary very often, since the o-line falls apart repetitively.

The receiving core is … ummm … yeah. This is where Carolina could benefit from a free agent receiver such as Demetrius Byrd.

The defensive secondary needs to make plays on the ball and not so much the intended receiver, although when a receiver makes a catch, it would be nice to see the receiver get tackled or pushed out of bounds.

The defensive line needs to put pressure on the quarterback, in this case Carson Palmer. To date, the defense — middle linebacker Dan Connor — has only registered one quarterback sack, and that was in Week One’s loss at the Meadowlands to the New York Giants.

Beyond this, there is one more thing that could hurt Carolina more than anything, and it may have already started. But for that, you’ll have to read further. Regardless, a loss this weekend will be demoralizing to the Panthers.

Follow Cat Crave on Twitter @THECatCrave.

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Tags: Carolina Panthers Carson Palmer Cincinnati Bengals Dan Connor DeAngelo Williams Demetrius Byrd Game Preview Jimmy Clausen Jonathan Stewart NFL Week Three

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