Panthers-Browns Preview Capsule
CAROLINA (6-6) at CLEVELAND (4-7-1)
SUNDAY, 1 p.m. ET, Fox
OPENING LINE — Pick-em.
RECORD VS. SPREAD — Carolina 5-7, Cleveland 7-5
SERIES RECORD — Panthers lead 4-1
LAST MEETING — Panthers beat Browns 17-13, Dec. 21, 2014
LAST WEEK — Panthers lost to Buccaneers 24-17; Browns lost to Texans 29-13
AP PRO32 RANKING — Panthers No. 16, Browns No. 22
PANTHERS OFFENSE — OVERALL (11), RUSH (2), PASS (20)
PANTHERS DEFENSE — OVERALL (14), RUSH (6), PASS (22)
BROWNS OFFENSE — OVERALL (18), RUSH (14), PASS (16)
BROWNS DEFENSE — OVERALL (30), RUSH (28), PASS (29)
STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES — Panthers’ playoff chances slipping amid four-game losing streak. ... Carolina is half-game behind Minnesota for second NFC wild-card spot. ... Carolina has lost last three games by combined seven points. ... Panthers’ biggest problem: QB Cam Newton’s health. Newton dealing with soreness in surgically repaired right shoulder, affecting ability to throw deep. ... Newton had four INTs last week. ... Newton has TD pass in 11 consecutive games, second-longest streak in league. He needs 1 yard to reach 3,000 for eighth straight season. Peyton Manning is only QB to start career with eight consecutive 3,000-yard seasons. ... Panthers averaging 140.8 rushing yards per game, only behind Seattle’s 148.8. ... RB Christian McCaffrey had 161 total yards last week, becoming first player with five straight games of 50 yards rushing, 50 yards receiving. ... Tireless McCaffrey has been on field for 97.4 percent of Panthers’ plays. ... Panthers DJ Moore leads all rookie wide receivers with 759 yards from scrimmage. ... Panthers lost TE Greg Olsen for season last week (ruptured plantar fascia). ... Panthers coach Ron Rivera has assumed defensive play calling from coordinator Eric Washington. Carolina D has been poor on third down and creating turnovers. ... Rivera fired D-line line coach Brady Hoke and assistant secondary/cornerbacks coach Jeff Imamura. ... Browns’ playoff chances took big hit last week. Cleveland fell behind 23-0 in first half before losing at Houston. Rookie QB Baker Mayfield had worst game in month, throwing three interceptions in first half — most since freshman season at Texas Tech. ... Mayfield recovered and passed for 351 yards after halftime, completing 24 of 30 passes. He set team rookie record with 397 yards passing vs. Texans. ... Offensive line has not allowed sack in past three games, longest stretch since 1988. ... DE Myles Garrett has team-leading 11 ½ sacks. ... Browns lead AFC with 27 takeaways. ... Browns DB Terrence Mitchell returns after missing eight games with broken wrist. ... Browns 2-2 under interim coach Gregg Williams. ... Cleveland likely to be without rookie CB Denzel Ward (concussion). ... Fantasy tip: Mayfield accepted blame for last week’s early turnovers and could have big bounce back against mediocre Carolina secondary.