Raiders-Panthers Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated December 19, 2012
Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers are showing signs of life following a disastrous start to the season. While wins haven't been easy to come by for the Oakland Raiders, they proved plenty formidable last week. The Panthers try to win three straight for the first time in three seasons Sunday against the visiting Raiders, who hope to build on their first victory since late October. Since losing eight of its first 10 games, Carolina (5-9) has looked like a completely different team. The Panthers have averaged 28.0 points and 407.5 yards while taking three of four, committing an NFL-low one turnover since Week 12. They averaged 18.4 points and 1.8 turnovers in their first 10. Newton's play has had plenty to do with the team's success over the last four weeks. The former Auburn standout has an NFL-best 113.1 passer rating to go with nine touchdowns and no interceptions. "I could not have done it without my offense, and they could not have done it without me," he told the team's official website. "There are a lot of guys going unnoticed behind the scenes that make this work. "It is not a one-man team. I think that's what we have learned more as the season has progressed." With the season winding down, Carolina is hoping to keep things going in its last two games. The Panthers visit New Orleans in Week 17. "Hopefully, you learn from the past in everything you do," left tackle Jordan Gross said. "For whatever reason we didn't start fast. We have to be able to do that next year, but that's a long ways off. For now we've got an opportunity to make it three in a row." Carolina is in position to win three in a row for the first time since closing the 2009 season on a three-game run, after beating NFC South-champion Atlanta 30-20 on Dec. 9, and San Diego 31-7 last Sunday. Newton threw for 231 yards and two TDs last week while Mike Tolbert had two rushing scores against his former team. The defense also came up huge, allowing 164 yards - its fewest since 2008. "The biggest thing is that the guys continue to come to work every week, practice hard and continue to do the things we ask of them," coach Ron Rivera said. "I know we don't have a chance to make the playoffs, but with the way our guys are approaching things, we can keep that momentum going." It could be imperative to Rivera's future with the Panthers that his team continues its late surge. Carolina owner Jerry Richardson told Rivera following a 1-5 start the team needed to be "trending upward'' the rest of the way for him to keep his job. The Raiders, like the Panthers, are also coming off a stifling defensive display. Oakland (4-10) had surrendered an average of 35.8 points during a six-game skid before shutting down Kansas City last Sunday, yielding a franchise low-tying 10 rushing yards in a 15-0 win. It was its first victory since beating the Chiefs on Oct. 28, and its first shutout since 2002. "I think it's important any time you get that opportunity. It's tough to shut anybody out in this league," coach Dennis Allen said. "To get the shutout, to hold the team to 10 yards rushing... I think that was huge for our defense. I think that was a good confidence builder." While the defense shut down lowly Kansas City, Oakland's offense failed to reach the end zone for the first time since Week 4, settling for a season-high five field goals from Sebastian Janikowski. Darren McFadden carried the ball a career high-tying 30 times for 110 yards and could be in for another big workload Sunday. The Raiders are 4-1 this season when he has at least 18 attempts. "I think we all saw that when we execute that game plan the way that we feel like we're capable of executing it, we have a chance to win games," Allen said. "I thought we were able to run the ball effectively. ... So that will be a key for us moving forward." McFadden could have a hard time finding running room against a Panthers defense that's held its last two foes to a combined 105 yards on the ground. Carolina's DeAngelo Williams, meanwhile, has given opponents fits of late. The veteran back has compiled 256 yards from scrimmage over the last two weeks, hauling in TD receptions in both. Williams led the way in Carolina's last game against Oakland, a 17-6 win on Nov. 9, 2008, running for 140 yards and a TD.
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Rams owner buys massive 520,000-acre Texas ranch

Cam Newton explains why he did not dive on fumble

George Karl’s agent rips Kings, wants broadcaster reprimanded

WATCH: Popovich has funny reaction to New Hampshire results

Suns vets pull packing peanut prank on rookie Devin Booker

Teammate gives Manning final completion ball from Super Bowl


Report: Ole Miss Football cited in 13 of 28 department violations by NCAA

Larry Sanders to consider NBA comeback after other interests stabilize

The NCAAB power rankings

SEC begins crying foul over Jim Harbaugh’s spring break plans at Michigan

Marc Gasol reportedly out indefinitely with broken foot

Patriots waive Montee Ball despite never officially re-signing running back

WATCH: Blackhawks coach walks out of press conference

Greg McElroy: Cam Newton 'quit on his team'

Tennis umpires secretly banned over gambling issues

WATCH: Dancing Kentucky fan slides down rail, fails

Clemson LB has great response to NFL draft analyst's criticism

Former Aggies QB Kyle Allen reveals culture problems at Texas A&M

Roy Williams collapses during game vs. BC

Panthers TE Greg Olsen shaves off his playoff beard

Derek Fisher thanks Knicks in statement

Miami Heat to honor Shaq by retiring his number 32

Oakland Raiders release Nate Allen

B.J. Penn announces he will return at UFC 197

Bring back the Dunk Contest

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The NCAAB power rankings

Report: Kings to keep coach George Karl

Was Alain Vigneault right about NHL's lack of punishment towards Wayne Simmonds?

Report: Knicks fire coach Derek Fisher

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Best and worst from Super Bowl 50

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

Eli doesn't look thrilled as Peyton wins Super Bowl

Did Beyonce almost fall down during Super Bowl halftime show?

Curry to serve as drummer for Panthers

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker