Nov 11, 2012; Charlotte, NC, USA Carolina Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams (34) gets tackled for a loss by Denver Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller (58) during the third quarter at Bank of America Stadium. The Broncos defeated the Panthers 36-14. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-US PRESSWIRE

Panthers at Chiefs Preview: By the Numbers

A day after the tragic events in Kansas City, the Panthers have the humble duty of facing the very ball club most affected by the sad chain of events: The Kansas City Chiefs. Understandably, there is no “Five Questions” this week.

Carolina Panthers:
Total Offense: (T-19) 339.8 yds/game
Scoring Offense: (25) 19.5 ppg
Rushing Offense: (18) 108 yds/game – 3.9 yds/att
Passing Offense: (16) 231.8 yds/game – 8.3 yds/att

Total Defense:
Scoring Defense: (21) 24.1 ppg
Rushing Defense: (25) 126.2 yds/game – 4.5 yds/att
Passing Defense: (11) 220.9 yds/game – 6.9 yds/att

Kansas City Chiefs:

Total Offense: (21) 336.2 yds/game
Scoring Offense: (32) 14.6 ppg
Rushing Offense: (4) 145.6 yds/game – 4.6 yds/att
Passing Offense: (29) 190.5 yds/game – 6.2 yds/att

Total Defense:
Scoring Defense: (28) 27.4 ppg
Rushing Defense: (24) 126.1 yds/game – 4.5 yds/att
Passing Defense: (10) 219.9 yds/game – 8.3 yds/att

Carolina Panthers RB Jonathan Stewart is out again so DeAngelo Williams should get 15-20 carries with Mike Tolbert getting 5-10 touches/targets running and receiving. Cam should get his 7-10 carries as well but the totals will depend on the pace of the game. If you’re in a fantasy league and have DeAngelo Williams benched, you might consider him in a flex position or one of the RB positions depending on your RB strength and depth and the matchups your other backs face.

I highlighted above some of the statistics that jumped out at me – namely passing yards per attempt on offense and defense for both teams. Carolina holds a very strong edge there.

Despite the fact that so many people are walking and talking on eggshells with the Jovan Belcher tragedy, let’s just face facts – as ugly as they may be:

The bottom line is the NFL is all about winning. The Panthers’ coaches can, should, and will take advantage of the loss of one of the Chiefs’ starting ILBs and pound the rock up the middle to test whoever they decide to start in the vacated ILB spot. We’ll get a chance early on to see if the Panthers are particularly successful with their running game which has been struggling all season long. If successful, then that will set up the play-action pass, where the Panthers have the ability to create some big plays and the Chiefs give them up on defense if you look at yards per attempt.

When the Chiefs have the ball, they’ll probably look to really shorten this ball game with the added reason of the tragedy on mind…if they can shorten the game with their one strength – running the football – it will improve their chances of winning. The Chiefs tend to run to the strong side a lot so look for SLB James Anderson to be very active in this contest.

With an understandably distracted KC team, it’s hard to say what effect it will have on their play. Will they come out flat and play uninspired with all the heavy hearts or will they channel their anger and frustration and focus it on hitting the guy in front of them in the mouth when the game begins? How long will they be able to keep it up if they do?

Difficult to tell, as the Indianapolis Colts played inspired football in beating the Green Bay Packers after finding out their Head Coach was battling cancer. It’s a completely different situation, but both have a similar effect in that it introduces a unique distraction in the minds of everyone on the field from the long snapper to the starting QB to the coaches.

Overall, with the Panthers following up the best game of their season so far from last Thursday, they also have the advantage of the extra-long week to have prepared and heal up over the Chiefs.

Final score?

Panthers 38, Chiefs 13

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