4 keys to victory for the Panthers at Washington in Week 16

(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) Teddy Bridgewater
(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) Teddy Bridgewater /
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Carolina Panthers
(Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) Ron Rivera /

87. 6-8. Washington -1. 4.05 PM ET. 4-10. CBS. Sunday, Dec 27. 58

What are the keys to victory for the Carolina Panthers at Washington?

There will be more than a few Carolina Panthers fans who will be hoping for the team to lost their final two games of the 2020 season. They could end up with the No. 3 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft in this scenario if other results go their way, which would allow them to pick up a high-quality college prospect to boost their current rebuild even further.

However, the NFL doesn’t work like that. The Carolina Panthers have plenty of players who are fighting for their futures over the next two contests and they will want to build some positive momentum before another crucial offseason period in the coming months.

There is far more at stake for the Washington Football Team, who lead the moribund NFC East with a 6-8 record and know that a win at FedEx Field on Sunday would give Carolina’s former head coach Ron Rivera a place in the postseason a little more than a year after he was fired by owner David Tepper.

The Panthers will not want to be the team that gives Rivera a leg-up into the playoffs and a divisional championship. Here are four keys to victory for Carolina at FedEx Field in Week 16.

Key to Victory No. 1

Carolina Panthers
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Curtis Samuel /

Wide receiver involvement

Rivera will know all about the sort of ways that Curtis Samuel and D.J. Moore can impact a game if left unattended after working with them closely in recent years. But this should not detract from Carolina’s need to get them heavily involved early and often.

Washington is one of the stingiest secondary’s in the league, giving up just 200.2 yards-per-game through the air. This has a lot to do with the ferocious pass-rush that puts them in a good position to succeed on the backend. But if the Panthers can get the ball out quickly and efficiently, it will give them a good chance of moving the chains.

It’s hard to cover every weapon in Carolina’s passing game, even though they will be without the services of star running back Christian McCaffrey once again. Offensive coordinator Joe Brady needs to put his playmakers in the best possible position, especially when the Panthers get into the red zone.