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

Matt ForteNov 26 07:13p

Chicago Bears RB Matt Forte (knee) is officially active for the Week 12 game against the Green Bay Packers Thursday, Nov. 26.

Corey BrownNov 26 03:43p

Carolina Panthers WR Corey Brown (shoulder) has been declared inactive for the Week 12 game against the Dallas Cowboys.

Corey BrownNov 26 03:33p

The Carolina Panthers have declared RB Brandon Wegher, RB Cameron Artis-Payne, CB Charles Tillman, WR Corey Brown, LS Danny Aiken, WR Kevin Norwood, DE Ryan Delaire inactive for Week 12.

Brice ButlerNov 26 03:33p

The Dallas Cowboys have declared WR Brice Butler, TE Geoff Swaim, LB Mark Nzeocha, CB Morris Claiborne, OG Ronald Leary, DE Ryan Russell, RB Trey Williams inactive for Week 12.

Timothy WrightNov 26 11:33a

The Detroit Lions have declared OT Corey Robinson, DL Gabe Wright, S Isaiah Johnson, DL Jermelle Cudjo, OT LaAdrian Waddle, WR T.J. Jones, TE Tim Wright inactive for Week 12.

Darrelle RevisNov 26 11:33a

New York Jets CB Darrelle Revis (concussion) wasn't spotted at practice Thursday, Nov. 26, and he's unlikely to play in Week 12 against the Miami Dolphins.

Calvin JohnsonNov 26 11:23a

Detroit Lions WR Calvin Johnson (ankle) is active Thursday, Nov. 26, against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Matt BryantNov 26 11:13a

Updating previous reports, Atlanta Falcons PK Matt Bryant (quadriceps) injured his quadriceps in practice Wednesday, Nov. 25.

Sam BradfordNov 26 11:13a

Philadelphia Eagles QB Sam Bradford (concussion, shoulder) is inactive Thursday, Nov. 26.

Sam BradfordNov 26 11:13a

The Philadelphia Eagles have declared DL Brandon Bair, CB Denzel Rice, WR Jonathan Krause, RB Ryan Mathews, QB Sam Bradford, OT Tanner Hawkinson, TE Zach Ertz inactive for Week 12.

Peyton ManningNov 26 11:03a

Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning (foot) will be out at least three weeks as his foot is in a cast for the next 10 days. He'll need at least [ More ]

Devonta FreemanNov 26 11:03a

Atlanta Falcons RB Devonta Freeman (concussion) won't practice Thursday, Nov. 26, and the team is preparing to play without him in Week 12, according to head coach Dan Quinn.

Shayne GrahamNov 26 10:43a

Free-agent PK Shayne Graham (Saints) will sign with the Atlanta Falcons Thursday, Nov. 26, according to a source.

Mark SanchezNov 26 08:43a

Philadelphia Eagles QB Mark Sanchez will start Thursday, Nov. 26, in place of QB Sam Bradford (concussion, shoulder).

Doug BaldwinNov 25 07:43p

Seattle Seahawks WR Doug Baldwin (ankle) did not take part in practice Wednesday, Nov. 25.

Tyrod TaylorNov 25 07:23p

Updating a previous report, Buffalo Bills QB Tyrod Taylor (shoulder) said he will play in Week 12 against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Malcom FloydNov 25 06:53p

San Diego Chargers TE Antonio Gates (hip) and WR Malcom Floyd (shoulder) were limited in practice Wednesday, Nov. 25.

Case KeenumNov 25 06:43p

St. Louis Rams QB Case Keenum (concussion) was limited in practice Wednesday, Nov. 25.

Dexter McClusterNov 25 06:33p

Tennessee Titans RB Dexter McCluster (knee) did not take part in practice Wednesday, Nov. 25.

Kendall WrightNov 25 06:33p

Tennessee Titans WR Kendall Wright (knee) was limited in practice Wednesday, Nov. 25.

Mark IngramNov 25 06:23p

New Orleans Saints RB Mark Ingram's (shoulder) injury isn't expected to be a major concern after resting last week during the bye. It's unclear, however, if his shoulder injury [ More ]

Andrew LuckNov 25 06:23p

Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck (abdomen, kidney) is confident that he will play again this year, but a timetable for his return at this point is tough to gauge. [ More ]

Leonard HankersonNov 25 06:13p

Atlanta Falcons WR Leonard Hankerson (hamstring) is still bothered by a hamstring strain, and the Falcons may continue to take their time with his injury. Hankerson previously missed two [ More ]

A. Seferian-JenkinsNov 25 06:03p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins (shoulder) was limited in practice Wednesday, Nov. 25.

Stedman BaileyNov 25 05:53p

St. Louis Rams WR Stedman Bailey (head) is out of surgery and will be in an intensive care unit for 3-5 days. Doctors are hopeful he will make a successful recovery.

Danny AmendolaNov 25 04:43p

New England Patriots WRs Julian Edelman (foot), Danny Amendola (knee) and Aaron Dobson (ankle) did not practice Wednesday, Nov. 25.

Glenn DorseyNov 25 04:33p

San Francisco 49ers DT Glenn Dorsey (knee) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Wednesday, Nov. 25, after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament in Week 11.

Marshawn LynchNov 25 03:53p

Updating a previous report, Seattle Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch (hernia) will return in three to four weeks after undergoing sports hernia surgery Wednesday, Nov. 25, but he could be [ More ]

Matt ForteNov 25 03:33p

Chicago Bears RB Matt Forte (knee) and WR Alshon Jeffery (groin, shoulder) are both listed as questionable for Week 12 against the Green Bay Packers Thursday, Nov. 26.

John BrownNov 25 03:13p

Arizona Cardinals WR John Brown (hamstring) did not practice Wednesday, Nov. 25.

Martellus BennettNov 25 02:53p

Chicago Bears TE Martellus Bennett (ribs) has been ruled out for Week 12 Thursday, Nov. 26.

Michael FloydNov 25 02:33p

Arizona Cardinals WR Michael Floyd (hamstring) is practicing Wednesday, Nov. 25.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
Player Notes:
Forum Posts:

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group