4 key Panthers matchups to watch at Packers in Week 15

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) D.J. Moore
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) D.J. Moore /
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Carolina Panthers
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Mike Davis /

4-9. NFL Network. Packers -8.5. 49. 8.20 PM ET. 87. Saturday, Dec 19. 10-3

What are the key Carolina Panthers matchups to watch at the Packers?

The task awaiting the Carolina Panthers on Saturday Night Football could not be steeper. Matt Rhule’s men are on a concerning slide and the last thing they probably want is a trip to Lambeau Field to take on the red-hot Green Bay Packers, who look primed for another deep postseason run that could eventually end with a Super Bowl victory and an NFL MVP award for quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

Things won’t be easy for the Carolina Panthers by any stretch of the imagination. They are heavy underdogs for a good reason and will be without the services of star running back Christian McCaffrey once again due to a quad injury.

Mike Davis has done well in McCaffrey’s absence this season. But the All-Pro has been sorely missed in the close games which haven’t gone Carolina’s way over the course of the campaign.

Here are the four Panthers matchups to watch closely in Week 15 as they go in search of an unlikely victory.

Matchup No. 1

Carolina Panthers
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Teddy Bridgewater /

Teddy Bridgewater vs. Za’Darius Smith

The stakes are getting extremely high for Teddy Bridgewater. The quarterback is coming off another poor outing against the Broncos that has only heightened doubts about his ability to lead the Panthers back into legitimate postseason contention.

Expectations will be relatively small at Lambeau Field. But even though this might come with a  more relaxed attitude normally, that is not the case for Bridgewater with just three games remaining to prove his worth in Carolina.

The former first-round pick will need to be wary of the threat posed by Za’Darius Smith at all times if the stud edge rusher is fit enough to take his place in the lineup. Carolina’s protection wasn’t great last time out and a similar performance would make things incredibly difficult against Green Bay’s front seven.