Keep an eye on these three Carolina Panthers during the season finale.
The Carolina Panthers host divisional rival New Orleans in the last game of 2019 for the home team. When the NFL schedule was released, anticipation was this game could determine who makes the playoffs, wins the division, or plays spoiler. Unfortunately, the fate of both teams has already been decided although the Saints could improve their seeding with a win and some favorable results elsewhere in the league.
Opposite, the Panthers have endured another second half collapse and will be looking to avoid eight consecutive losses with a win. The slide contributed to coach Ron Rivera being fired a few weeks ago but interim Perry Fewell has yet to right a sinking ship. Given New Orleans still has something to play for, Week 17 may be his toughest test to date.
In order for Carolina to have a chance they’ll need to get some quality production from these three Panthers on offense.
Greg Olsen – TE
Tight end Greg Olsen is a veteran presence who can serve as a safety net for rookie quarterback Will Grier. Undoubtedly, New Orleans will focus on stopping running back Christian McCaffrey and generating pressure. If successful, it will make for a long, tough day on offense but if Grier and Olsen get into a rhythm the Panthers odds increase. Olsen has one-year remaining on his current contract but at 34 years old, there’s a chance this could be the final game of an impressive career.
Will Grier – QB
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Third-round pick Will Grier threw three interceptions and zero touchdowns in his debut last week at Indianapolis. While he did manage 224 yards, he was also sacked five times – never able to establish any momentum. Getting off to a positive start on Sunday will help the Panthers maintain focus knowing the 2019 season is over after the final whistle.
Christian McCaffrey – RB
Running back Christian McCaffrey has an opportunity to make history on Sunday, needing just 67 receiving yards to become the third player all-time with 1,000 rushing and receiving yards in a single season. Having already eclipsed the rushing total, look for Grier to target McCaffrey early and often during the contest.
The Panthers and Saints kick off at 1:00pm ET on Sunday inside Bank of America Stadium.