3 key Carolina Panthers storylines to monitor vs. the Lions in Week 16

(Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold
(Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold /
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What are some key storylines to watch when the Carolina Panthers take on the Detroit Lions during their regular-season home finale in Week 16?

Another rollercoaster home slate concludes for the Carolina Panthers with a tricky-looking clash against the Detroit Lions in Week 16. Bitter conditions await players and fans on Christmas Eve, with current projections anticipating the second-coldest game in franchise history that will undoubtedly play a role in the overall outcome.

Steve Wilks won’t have time for excuses this weekend. The Panthers were humbled versus the Pittsburgh Steelers, but the Cincinnati Bengals and New Orleans Saints did Carolina enormous favors to ensure they aren’t out of the NFC South title race with three games remaining.

Although the enthusiasm about what this team might be capable of has vanished, anything is possible. However, the Lions are in the midst of a tremendous run of results and must be taken seriously in pursuit of sending the fanbase home happy.

With that being said, here are three key storylines to watch closely at Bank of America Stadium when Detroit comes to town.

Storyline No. 1

Carolina Panthers
(Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports) Jared Goff /

Carolina Panthers’ response on defense

There was nothing to brag about where the Carolina Panthers’ defense was concerned last time out. The Pittsburgh Steelers won in the trenches and victimized Al Holcomb’s unit on third down, which has to change in Week 16 against a prolific Detroit Lions offense led by quarterback Jared Goff.

The former No. 1 overall selection is enjoying a new lease of life with offensive coordinator Ben Johnson calling the shots. Goff will fancy his chances of another big day given how poorly Carolina’s secondary performed versus the Steelers, so a huge response is needed across the board to stand any chance of winning.