Carolina Panthers run game, other keys for must win at Cleveland Browns
Control the Momentum
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The mindset of players and coaches during a losing streak can be a fragile entity and for this reason, Carolina desperately needs to control the momentum on Sunday.
Falling behind early would be disastrous, even if by only one or two scores. In seven-plus seasons no team has ever quit on Rivera, in fact, this season has shown the complete opposite with near comeback wins at Atlanta and Washington after trailing considerably.
The difference then, Carolina was coming off a win the week prior and definitely hadn’t been handed four losses in a row. The Panthers haven’t notched a victory in over a month and with concerns about the overall health of Newton, getting down in Cleveland could result in some difficult decisions for Rivera as the game unfolds. Does he opt for Taylor Heinicke? If so, will it be viewed as protecting the future of the franchise or signing his own pink slip. In turn, does he stick with Newton to protect his own position? A lot to digest here.
The Panthers and Browns kick off on Sunday, December 9 at 1:00pm ET.