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Week 16 Game Preview: Panthers vs. Lions

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CHARLOTTE - The Panthers (5-9) will host the Lions (7-7) in the regular season home finale on Saturday with a lot on the line.

Carolina needs to bounce back from last week's performance against the Steelers as they still have an opportunity to win out for the NFC South title. Detroit comes in after winning six of its last seven with their own playoff aspirations.

Scroll below for more information on the Week 16 matchup, team connections, series history and stats comparison, presented by Amazon Next Gen Stats.

Game Reset

History: Panthers vs. Lions

  • Carolina is 7-3 all-time against the Lions | Series History
  • Current Streak: Panthers W1
  • Carolina is 5-1 at home against the Lions all-time, with the only home loss coming in 1999

Player/Coach Connections

  • Former Panthers WR Brandon Zylstra is on the Lions practice squad
  • Panthers QB coach Sean Ryan was the Lions QB coach from 2019-20
  • Panthers players Taylor Moton and Michael Jordan are Michigan natives, while Moton and Giovanni Ricci both attended Western Michigan.
  • Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson was a walk-on QB at UNC and is a native of Charleston, S.C.
  • Lions RB coach Duce Staley is from Columbia, S.C.
  • Lions players Austin Bryan (Clemson) and Alim McNeil (NC State) went to college in the Carolinas

Christmas Eve Weather

  • Saturday marks the eighth time that the Panthers have played on Christmas Eve, posting a record of 3-4. In the last instance in 2017, Carolina beat Tampa Bay in dramatic fashion to secure a playoff spot.
  • With temperatures hovering around freezing, the game could enter the team's record books for game-time temperature. The coldest home game on record was 30 degrees on 1/3/10 against the Saints. Any temperature below freezing would be a Top 10 coldest game.
  • The coldest Panthers game ever continues to be the 1996 NFC Championship in Green Bay with a game-time temperature of 3 degrees and wind chills far below 0.

Statistical Comparison

Table inside Article
Category Carolina Detroit
Total Yards/Game 288.1 (30th) 375.1 (4th)
Rushing Yards/Game 117.5 (17th) 126.1 (14th)
Net Passing Yards/Game 170.6 (30th) 249.1 (8th)
Sacks Allowed 32 (t-13th) 19 (t-1st)
Third Down Efficiency 29.2 (30th) 42.3 (11th)
Points/Game 19.7 (24th) 26.4 (5th)
Total Yards/Game 342.1 (17th) 398.5 (31st)
Rushing Yards/Game 130.7 (22nd) 133.4 (26th)
Passing Yards/Game 211.4 (t-13th) 265.1 (30th)
Sacks 29 (t-23rd) 30 (t-21st)
Third Down Efficiency 43.5 (26th) 48.2 (31st)
Takeaways 14 (28th) 18 (t-13th)
Points Allowed/Game 22.4 (t-15th) 26.0 (31st)

Notes and Trends

Protecting the ball

  • Two weeks ago, 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 nine 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 43.5 rushing yards in four losses.

Offensive line play

  • As a team, the Panthers have a pass blocking grade of 73.8 (according to PFF), ranking sixth in the NFL.
  • Since Week 6, Carolina has only allowed 15 sacks, tied for fifth in the league over that stretch.
  • Since Week 4, rookie Ikem Ekwonu has the second-best pass blocking grade of any rookie lineman (80.8), 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 39.4 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, tied for 10th in the NFL.
  • Burns' 24.5 total stops (sacks + TFLs) behind the line are second-most through Week 15 in since TFL stats were kept in 2000.

Luvu back in force

  • After missing playing time with an injury, Frankie Luvu was back in full force the last five games. Since Week 10, he's the only player in the NFL with at least 5.0 sacks and 40-plus tackles.

Brown breaks the record

  • Derrick Brown tied his career high with tackles on Sunday against the Steelers. He now has 56 tackles on the season, passing Kawann Short (55, 2015/16) for the most by a Panthers defensive tackle in a single season.

Hekker inside the 20

  • Johnny Hekker continues to give Carolina an edge through the punt game. His 44.3 net yards per punt rank fourth in the NFL, while his 30 punts inside the 20 are third.

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 (14) needs seven tackles for loss to pass Luke Kuechly (20, 2018) for the franchise record in a single season.
  • Burns (24.5) needs eight tackles for loss or sacks to pass Greg Hardy (32, 2013) for most combined TFL/sacks in a season in franchise history
  • DJ Moore needs 322 receiving yards for his fourth consecutive 1,000-yard receiving season
  • Derrick Brown 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 (110) needs five tackles to pass his previous career high (114, 2020).
  • Johnny Hekker (30) needs six punts inside the 20 to pass Todd Sauerbrun (35, 2001) for the franchise record.

Carolina leads the all-time series with Detroit, 7-3.

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