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Week 15 Game Preview: Panthers vs. Steelers

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CHARLOTTE - The Panthers (5-8) take the field on Sunday in one of the more exciting home matchups in December in years. Carolina plays Pittsburgh (5-8) with a chance to climb the standings in the race for the NFC South title. They are currently one game behind Tampa Bay and tied with Atlanta with a number of tiebreakers factoring in.

The Steelers come south after a loss to Baltimore on Sunday, while the Panthers have won two in a row. Since Week 7, Carolina is 3-0 at home under Steve Wilks.

Scroll below for more information on the Week 14 matchup, team connections, series history and stats comparison, presented by Amazon Next Gen Stats.

Game Reset

History: Panthers vs. Steelers

  • Carolina is 1-6 all-time against the Steelers | Series History
  • Current Streak: Steelers W6
  • Carolina's only win against Pittsburgh came in 1996 at home when the Panthers clinched a division title

Player/Coach Connections

  • Panthers owner David Tepper was a minority owner of the Steelers prior to buying the Panthers in 2018
  • Pittsburgh offensive linemen Trent Scott played for Carolina from 2020-21
  • Pittsburgh practice squad defensive back Duke Dawson was in training camp with the Panthers this summer
  • Steelers assistant coaches Frisman Jackson and Pat Meyer used to coach with the Panthers
  • Panthers players Yetur Gross-Matos and Brandon Smith both went to Penn State
  • Pittsburgh players Alex Highsmith (Charlotte), Larry Ogunjobi (Charlotte), Mitch Trubisky (North Carolina) went to college in the Carolinas, while Mason Rudolph (Rock Hill, S.C.) and Pressley Harvin III (Alcolu, S.C.) are natives as well.
  • Panthers VP of Football Administration Samir Suleiman spent time with the Steelers from 2011-19

Statistical Comparison

Table inside Article
Category Carolina Pittsburgh
Offense
Total Yards/Game 294.2 (30th) 317.3 (26th)
Rushing Yards/Game 124.9 (13th) 113.0 (19th)
Net Passing Yards/Game 169.2 (30th) 204.3 (24th)
Sacks Allowed 28 (t-10th) 34 (t-20th)
Third Down Efficiency 28.7 (30th) 40.0 (16th)
Points/Game 20.0 (24th) 17.5 (27th)
Defense
Total Yards/Game 343.5 (16th) 358.5 (22nd)
Rushing Yards/Game 128.8 (24th) 115.8 (15th)
Passing Yards/Game 214.7 (15th) 242.7 (24th)
Sacks 28 (20th) 25 (t-24th)
Third Down Efficiency 40.6 (22nd) 38.5 (13th)
Takeaways 14 (t-23rd) 17 (t-10th)
Points Allowed/Game 22.3 (13th) 22.5 (14th)

Notes and Trends

Ground game at work in Seattle

  • At Seattle, Carolina rushed 46 times for 223 yards, the third time that the Panthers have run at least 46 times in a game this year. Since Week 7, the team's 1,082 rushing yards are fifth in the league.
  • On Sunday, the Panthers held the ball for 39:16, the highest time of possession in a four-quarter game since Week 16 of 2006 at Atlanta.

Protecting the ball

  • Carolina won the turnover battle, 2-0, in the win at Seattle. The Panthers have not turned it over in four of the team's five wins and not thrown an interception in any of the five wins. They've thrown 10 interceptions in the eight losses.

Foreman moving

  • Since becoming the starter in Week 7, D'Onta Foreman has had a strong collection of rushing performances. Since then, he's had four 100-yard rushing games, tied for the most in the NFL with Josh Jacobs.
  • Since Week 7, Foreman has averaged 108.8 rushing yards in four wins and 55.0 rushing yards in three losses.

Offensive line play

  • As a team, the Panthers have a pass blocking grade of 75.1 (according to PFF), ranking fifth in the NFL.
  • Since Week 6, Carolina has only allowed 11 sacks, ranking second in the league over that stretch.
  • Since Week 4, rookie Ikem Ekwonu has the best pass blocking grade of any rookie lineman (84.1), allowing just one sack.

Jaycee Horn shutting it down

  • Jaycee Horn made his third interception of the season at Seattle. According to PFF, he's allowed a 35.8 passer rating when targeted, the lowest among qualified cornerbacks this season.

Burns reaches double figures in sacks

  • Brian Burns has double digits in sacks (10.5) for the first time in his career, ranking eighth in the NFL.
  • Burns' 23.5 total stops (sacks + TFLs) behind the line are third-most through Week 14 in franchise history.

Luvu back in force

  • After missing playing time with an injury, Frankie Luvu was back in full force the last four games. He's had 34 tackles, 4.0 sacks and five tackles for loss in Weeks 10-14.
  • Luvu is the only NFL player with 30+ tackles and at least four sacks in that date range.

Hekker inside the 20

  • Johnny Hekker continues to give Carolina an edge through the punt game. His 44.1 net yards per punt rank fourth in the NFL, while his 29 punts inside the 20 are second.

2022 Statistical Milestones to Watch

  • Brian Burns (10.5) needs five sacks to pass Kevin Greene (1998) and Greg Hardy (2013)'s franchise record (15.0) for the most sacks in a season
  • Burns (13) needs eight tackles for loss to pass Luke Kuechly (20, 2018) for the franchise record in a single season.
  • Burns (23.5) needs nine tackles for loss or sacks to pass Greg Hardy (32, 2013) for most combined TFL/sacks in a season in franchise history
  • Derrick Brown (51) needs five tackles to pass Kawann Short (55, 2015/2016) for the most tackles by a Panthers DT in a single season.
  • Brown (14) needs five pass deflections to pass Julius Peppers (18) for the most by a Panthers defensive lineman in his first three seasons.
  • Shaq Thompson (98) needs two tackles for his fourth consecutive season with at least 100 tackles. That would tie Jon Beason (4 straight) for third-most behind Thomas Davis (5 straight) and Luke Kuechly (8 straight).
  • D'Onta Foreman (4) needs three 100-yard rushing games to tie DeAngelo Williams (7, 2008) for the most in a season from Week 7 on.
  • Johnny Hekker (29) needs seven punts inside the 20 to pass Todd Sauerbrun (35, 2001) for the franchise record.

The Steelers lead the all-time series against the Panthers, 6-1.

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