2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Panthers know 49ers provide great measuring stick

By STEVE REED - AP Sports Writer
    2013-11-07 17:40

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Jordan Gross said the next two weeks will go a long way toward determining how people around the country perceive the Carolina Panthers.

The Panthers' starting left tackle and co-captain said Carolina will start to earn some respect if they can beat San Francisco on the road Sunday and follow that up with a victory next Monday night at home against New England.

''I'm excited about the challenge ahead,'' Gross said. ''If we win these games everybody is going to say we're good. And if we lose these games everybody is going to say that we beat teams that weren't good.''

The Panthers (5-3) are starting to play like a playoff team, having won four straight games.

They've outscored their opponents 130-48 during that span have a plus-8 turnover ratio.

Quarterback Cam Newton has been playing well and the defense has kept opponents to 15 points or fewer.

However, some question the team's improvement since Carolina's five wins have come against teams with a combined 8-33 record.

The Panthers and coach Ron Rivera are saying this week's game against the 49ers is ''the biggest game because it's the next game.''

Despite the team's efforts to downplay the game's importance, this is one of the franchise's biggest games since their playoff loss in 2008 to the Arizona Cardinals. The Panthers haven't been above .500 since then until the past two weeks.

Rivera said given that the 49ers are NFC champions and are a talented team that plays physical and beating them on the road ''would be big'' for his team's confidence.

''They have a winning record,'' Rivera said.

Seven of Carolina's opponents this season so far don't. That was unexpected since the Panthers entered the season with the toughest schedule in the NFL based on last season's records.

The only team the Panthers have played with a winning record is the Seattle Seahawks (8-1), and they matched up pretty well against them. Carolina had a chance to win that game but running back DeAngelo Williams fumbled late in the game as the Panthers were driving for the potential go-ahead score.

The Panthers want to show they can compete with the NFC's best this week - and turn some heads.

''It's a game that a lot of football talking heads are talking about,'' Carolina safety Mike Mitchell said. ''So if we beat them, now they have to talk about us.

''But don't get it twisted in any way - we're a confident team. We know we're a good team and we made some mistakes early on and we know our record should be better than it is. We have a lot of respect for San Francisco, but we'd to keep ourselves relevant by beating them.''

The next two games won't be easy.

Not only do the Panthers face a pair of division leaders with playoff experience, but the 49ers and Patriots will both be coming off bye weeks.

Rivera said he had no problem with the NFL schedule when it came out and still doesn't have an issue with how it breaks down.

He said if the Panthers maintain their focus they can compete.

Either way, he said he'll know a lot more about his team pretty soon.

''You want to be able to beat teams like that - teams that have a lot,'' Rivera said of the 49ers. ''Because you are measuring yourself against them and I think it's a great opportunity to find out who you are and where you are headed.''

---

AP NFL website www.pro32.ap.org

---

Follow Steve Reed on Twitter: http://twitter.com/SteveReedAP

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Jarrett BoykinOct 2 09:23a

Green Bay Packers WR Jarrett Boykin (groin) has a more severe groin injury than originally thought, and he has been ruled out for Week 5. He could also miss [ More ]

Ricky StanziOct 2 03:13a

Free-agent QB Ricky Stanzi, WR Ryan Spadola, and DTs George Uko and Zach Minter all tried out this week for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Steven MeansOct 2 03:03a

The Miami Dolphins worked out free-agent LBs Uani Unga and Paul Hazel, along with DEs Kaelin Burnett and Steven Means.

Brian LeonardOct 2 02:43a

The Tennessee Titans had free-agent FBs Brian Leonard and Chris Pressley in recently for workouts.

R.J. StanfordOct 2 02:43a

Updating a previous item, in an effort to shore up its secondary, the Houston Texans tried out several cornerbacks this week. Included in workouts were free-agent CBs Charles James, [ More ]

Corey LiugetOct 1 11:43p

San Diego Chargers LB Corey Liuget (concussion) suffered a concussion in Week 4 against the Buffalo Bills, but he was able to practice on a limited basis Wednesday, Oct. [ More ]

Odell Beckham Jr.Oct 1 11:23p

New York Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. (hamstring) has the confidence of his head coach Tom Coughlin, should the rookie be active in Week 5 against the Atlanta Falcons. [ More ]

Aaron DobsonOct 1 10:13p

New England Patriots WR Aaron Dobson was inactive for the Week 3 and 4 games because he 'mouthed off' to offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, a source said Wednesday, Oct. 1.

David NelsonOct 1 10:03p

New York Jets WR David Nelson (ankle) is expected to miss the Week 5 game against the San Diego Chargers.

T.J. GrahamOct 1 10:03p

New York Jets WRs T.J. Graham, Chris Owusu or Walter Powell are jockeying for the No. 4 receiver job this week behind WRs Eric Decker, Jeremy Kerley and Greg [ More ]

Tramaine BrockOct 1 08:53p

San Francisco 49ers CB Tramaine Brock (toe) is likely out another week. He was able to start on-field rehab work with the team's strength and conditioning staff. He has [ More ]

Vernon DavisOct 1 08:53p

San Francisco 49ers TE Vernon Davis (back) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 1. He said he is experiencing some back spasms, and is listed a 'day to day.'

Justin SmithOct 1 08:43p

San Francisco 49ers CB Tramaine Brock (toe), OT Anthony Davis (ankle, knee) and DE Justin Smith (non-injury related) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 1. FS Antoine Bethea (ankle), DE [ More ]

Brandon ThompsonOct 1 08:23p

Cincinnati Bengals LB Vontaze Burfict (concussion), DE Robert Geathers (toe), DE Margus Hunt (shoulder), OG Mike Pollak (knee), DT Brandon Thompson (knee) and OG Kevin Zeitler (calf) were unable [ More ]

Andre EllingtonOct 1 08:23p

Arizona Cardinals RB Andre Ellington (foot) has seen improvement with his foot injury, although he is still not at 100 percent. However, he is able to practice more, and [ More ]

Dave ZastudilOct 1 08:23p

Arizona Cardinals OG Paul Fanaika (knee), LB Alex Okafor (thihg), DE Frostee Rucker (calf) and P Dave Zastudil (groin) were each listed as limited participants for practice Wednesday, Oct. [ More ]

Alfonzo DennardOct 1 08:23p

New England Patriots FS Nate Ebner (finger) and OT Cameron Fleming (finger) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 1. LB Jamie Collins (thigh), CB Alfonzo Dennard (shoulder), LB [ More ]

Kendall JamesOct 1 07:33p

The Houston Texans signed free-agent CBs Charles James (Giants) and Kendall James (Vikings) to their practice squad Wednesday, Oct. 1.

Shiloh KeoOct 1 07:23p

Chicago Bears LB Terrell Manning and WR Rashad Ross, Houston Texans S Shiloh Keo and Jacksonville Jaguars DBs Deion Belue and Winston Guy cleared waivers and became free agents Wednesday, Oct. 1.

Derek CarrOct 1 07:03p

Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr (ankle, knee) said he expects to play against the San Diego Chargers in Week 6 following the team's bye week.

Dashon GoldsonOct 1 06:43p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers DE Larry English (hamstring), SS Dashon Goldson (ankle), DE Michael Johnson (ankle) and TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins (ankle) all did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 1. [ More ]

Carson PalmerOct 1 06:43p

Updating a previous report, Arizona Cardinals QB Carson Palmer (shoulder) isn't being ruled out for Week 5 against the Denver Broncos by head coach Bruce Arians. Arians said Palmer [ More ]

Anthony SpencerOct 1 06:33p

Dallas Cowboys LB Bruce Carter (thigh) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 1. DT Henry Melton (hamstring) and DE Anthony Spencer (knee) were limited, while LB Rolando McClain (groin) practiced in full.

Dez BryantOct 1 06:33p

Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant (shoulder) had his first full practice Wednesday, Oct. 1, since injuring his shoulder in Week 2. He has caught nine passes for 133 yards [ More ]

Jonathan GoodwinOct 1 06:23p

New Orleans Saints C Jonathan Goodwin (neck), RB Erik Lorig (ankle) and CB Corey White (foot) all did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 1. OT Terron Armstead (concussion), [ More ]

Joe ThomasOct 1 06:23p

Cleveland Browns WR Marlon Moore (illness) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 1. DE Desmond Bryant (gluteus, wrist) and OT Joe Thomas (non-injury) were limited, while LB Barkevious Mingo (shoulder) [ More ]

Brandon MarshallOct 1 06:13p

Chicago Bears WR Brandon Marshall (ankle) practiced without restrictions Wednesday, Oct. 1, for the first time in a while. 'It was good to get him (Marshall) back out there [ More ]

Roberto GarzaOct 1 06:13p

Chicago Bears LB Lance Briggs (knee), S Ahmad Dixon (hamstring), LB Shea McClellin (hand) and LB D.J. Williams (neck) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 1. DE Jared Allen (illness), [ More ]

Louis VasquezOct 1 06:13p

Denver Broncos S Quinton Carter (knee), TE Virgil Green (concussion), LB Danny Trevathan (knee) and G Louis Vasquez (rib cage) were full participants in practice Wednesday, Oct. 1. LB [ More ]

Terrell SuggsOct 1 05:53p

Baltimore Ravens DE Chris Canty (illness), DT Timmy Jernigan (knee), OT Eugene Monroe (knee) and LB Terrell Suggs (thigh) all did not participate in practice Wednedsay, Oct. 1. CB [ More ]

Tamba HaliOct 1 05:53p

Kansas City Chiefs WR Donnie Avery (groin) and S Eric Berry (ankle) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 1. LB Tamba Hali (knee) and CB Sean Smith (groin) were limited, [ More ]

Ryan MathewsOct 1 05:43p

San Diego Chargers RB Ryan Mathews (knee) said he's feeling good, but he has no timetable for when he might return. He wants to make sure he's fully healthy [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group