3 pivotal matchups that will decide Carolina Panthers at Lions in Week 5

Derrick Brown
Derrick Brown / Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
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Carolina Panthers iDL vs. Lions interior rush

The Detroit Lions are an old-school ground-and-pound team, something that is largely lost in today's NFL. But that does not mean it is ineffective. The NFC North outfit is on the rise for a reason, after all.

This is something the Carolina Panthers are severely lacking along the interior defense.

Teams have been able to run all over the Panthers for many years now. That has not changed in 2023 even with an injection of new talent all across the board.

With the exception of Derrick Brown, there has simply not been the talent or performance from others on the defensive front to even slow down an opposing run game.

Holes are massive for running backs to slip through and defensive linemen get pushed easily off of their spot - to the tune of 135 rushing yards in Week 4. The Lions racked up 211 yards on the ground against a fairly solid Green Bay Packers defense, so the danger is there for all to see.

This is not a new weakness, it is not one likely to be fixed this week, but it is a matchup to keep an eye on nonetheless. The first step in beating the Lions team is making quarterback Jared Goff win the game on his own. That begins and ends with the run game.

But with the linebacker room also banged up, there is little room for optimism for Panthers fans going into Week 5.

However, if the Panthers can somehow fix this issue, it will go a long way toward propelling themselves back toward relevance.