Raiders at Panthers
The Carolina Panthers wrap up the home portion of their underachieving season Sunday when they take on the equally disappointing Oakland Raiders for just the fifth time since their inception. Carolina, which resides in the basement of the NFC South, lost six of its first seven games and never recovered. The Panthers, who are just 2-5 at home, are attempting to end the campaign on a high note as they seek their third consecutive victory.
Oakland also got off to a bad start, dropping four of its first five contests. It won its next two before enduring a six-game losing streak during which it allowed a total of 215 points. The Raiders ended the slide last Sunday with a 15-0 triumph over Kansas City in their home finale. Half of the team's victories this season have come against the lowly Chiefs (2-12).
TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Panthers -8, O/U 46.
ABOUT THE RAIDERS (4-10): Carson Palmer is just 13 yards away from becoming only the second quarterback in franchise history to reach 4,000 in a season. Rich Gannon was the first Raiders QB to accomplish the feat, throwing for 4,689 yards in 2002. Marcel Reece leads all AFC running backs with 478 receiving yards while Brandon Myers tops all tight ends in the conference with 72 catches. Sunday's shutout against the Chiefs was the team's first blanking since 2002. Sebastian Janikowski provided all the offense, kicking a season-high five field goals.
ABOUT THE PANTHERS (5-9): Quarterback Cam Newton has been outstanding over the last four weeks. The Auburn product leads the league with a 113.1 passer rating in that span with nine touchdown passes and no interceptions. "I could not have done it without my offense, and they could not have done it without me," Newton said. "There are a lot of guys going unnoticed behind the scenes that make this work." Carolina won its most recent meeting with the Raiders, a 17-6 triumph in Oakland on Nov. 9, 2008. Rookie linebacker Luke Kuechly has recorded 15 or more tackles in a league-leading three games this season.
1. The Panthers are seeking their first three-game winning streak since capturing the final three contests of the 2009 season.
2. Oakland tied a franchise record by allowing only 10 rushing yards against Kansas City last week.
3. Carolina has committed only one turnover since Week 12.
PREDICTION: Panthers 17, Raiders 14.