3 reasons the Carolina Panthers can beat the Vikings in Week 6

(Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports) Chuba Hubbard
(Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports) Chuba Hubbard /
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Carolina Panthers
(Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) Haason Reddick /

1 PM ET. 2-3. 60. 3-2. 87. FOX. Sunday, October 17. Panthers +2.5

The Carolina Panthers and Minnesota Vikings will face off this Sunday at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte for a pivotal Week 6 matchup.

A week after suffering their first loss of the season, the Carolina Panthers let another one slip away last Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles. They led 15-6 with only a few seconds left in the third quarter before getting outscored 15-3 over the final 16 minutes of the game.

The Panthers appeared to be in firm control of the game, despite another rough third-quarter performance, but a late blocked punt and interception gave the Eagles a short field and sealed the deal.

Carolina played fairly well on the defensive side of the ball all game. But the offense never got into a rhythm and made mistake after mistake.

It was Sam Darnold’s worst performance of the season by far, but it wasn’t all on him.

Darnold threw three crucial interceptions – including on the team’s final drive – but was pressured all game long. The offensive line issues appear only to be getting worse and are something that Matt Rhule and Scott Fitterer must address immediately.

Fortunately for the Panthers, the schedule won’t get a whole lot tougher over the next few weeks.

On Sunday they will host the Minnesota Vikings in Charlotte, then have matchups with the New York Giants, Atlanta Falcons, and New England Patriots. Minnesota has had a disappointing start to its 2021 campaign, posting just a 2-3 record through five games, and has shown that they are beatable.

The Vikings barely survived the Detroit Lions in Week 5, winning on a last-second 54-yard field goal, and have struggled to score over the past two contests. The Panthers’ defense has continued to play well through the first third of the season, and they’ll likely have to lean on that unit again on Sunday.

The Panthers need to get back on track soon if they hope to make a postseason push, and a win at home this weekend would be just the way to do that. It’s a winnable game for Carolina, but they must execute in all four quarters.

Here’s how they can do it.