Week 9 spotlight: Curtis Samuel needs to show out at the Chiefs

(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Curtis Samuel
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Curtis Samuel /

87. Sunday, Nov 8. 3-5. 7-1. 124. Chiefs -10.5. 1 PM ET. FOX

Curtis Samuel must make a big impression for the Carolina Panthers.

The magnitude of the task awaiting Matt Rhule and the Carolina Panthers this weekend is there for all to see. Going to the Kansas City Chiefs represents a stern proposition at the best of times, but with the team on a three-game losing run, it will have to be an incredible turnaround for them to come away with a major upset.

Andy Reid’s side looks like a leading contender for the Super Bowl in 2020, which would make it back-to-back triumphs if they’re eventually successful. The Chiefs are as complete a football team as there is to find in the NFL and it was apparent very early on that it is going to take a monumental effort to stop them.

If Carolina wants to stand any chance of avoiding a fourth straight reverse, they need to put some significant points on the board. There is little anybody can do from stopping quarterback Patrick Mahomes and Kansas City’s high-octane offense from getting their fill, so going toe-to-toe with them from this standpoint might be the best way to go.

The Panthers do have some outstanding weapons that are capable of doing just that. They are also set to get their star running back Christian McCaffrey back from a lengthy absence, which will only bolster their chances during the second half of the season.

The Carolina Panthers need a big performance from Curtis Samuel.

Another that has an important role to play is Curtis Samuel. The wide receiver has grown in stature after a disappointing start and this is a trend that has to continue at Arrowhead Stadium.

There is a lot to like about the sort of skills Samuel brings to the table. His elusiveness and ability to get open quickly have been an eye-catching feature of his overall contribution in recent weeks, which has seen the former Ohio State standout become a favorite target of quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.

This is especially noticeable in third-down situations, where Samuel comes into his own.

The wideout has already amassed 14 catches to move the change during critical stages. If he can do the same at the Chiefs, it might just give the offense half a chance of making a real difference.

The presence of McCaffrey in the backfield, together with Robby Anderson and D.J. Moore on the outside, should free up plenty of space for Samuel to do damage. Providing he gets the necessary targets, there could be a big game incoming from the player.

Samuel has a lot riding on this season from a personal perspective. He is playing on the last year of his deal and is sure to attract plenty of interest on the free-agent market if the Panthers cannot come to an agreement regarding an extension.

Spotrac projects the 2017 second-round pick to command an annual salary of $6.5 million on a three-year, $19.63 million deal when he heads to the bargaining table. This is something the Panthers should be able to afford, but whether the player wants to pursue another opportunity elsewhere with the promise of an increased role remains to be seen.

A strong showing at the current Vince Lombardi Trophy holders would only strengthen Samuel’s position and the Panthers will be counting on him to deliver the goods against the league’s best team until proven otherwise.