Pan­thers (3-1) at Red­skins (2-2)

USA TODAY Sports Weekly - - NEWS - Ananth Pan­dian

Sun­day, 1 p.m. ET, FedExField, Lan­dover, Mary­land

TV: Fox

Danny Sheri­dan’s by 2

Pan­thers’ keys to vic­tory: Carolina will need to con­tinue to rely on the of­fen­sive ver­sa­til­ity of QB Cam New­ton if it wants to put up points against the Red­skins’ ex­cel­lent de­fense. Sim­i­larly, RB Chris­tian McCaf­frey has to es­tab­lish the run game right from the start of the con­test. An added boost to Carolina’s of­fense could come from the pos­si­ble re­turn of TE Greg Olsen. De­fen­sively, the Pan­thers will need to take away Wash­ing­ton’s run game; they can’t let RBs Adrian Peter­son and Chris Thomp­son get into a rhythm.

Red­skins’ keys to vic­tory: Stop­ping Carolina from es­tab­lish­ing any type of run­ning game is cru­cial. Of­fen­sively, the Red­skins will need a big game from RB Adrian Peter­son, who has shown this sea­son that he is still an elite run­ning back at 33 years old. QB Alex Smith’s cal­cu­lated pass­ing game also will need to be ac­cu­rate and ef­fi­cient. But per­haps more im­por­tant, the Red­skins will need to ac­tu­ally score in the se­cond half, some­thing that has trou­bled them this sea­son.

Matchup to watch: Pan­thers RB Chris­tian McCaf­frey vs. Wash­ing­ton’s de­fen­sive line. If McCaf­frey can break down Wash­ing­ton’s D-line, that opens ev­ery­thing up for Carolina’s of­fense. If the Red­skins can slow down McCaf­frey, that in turn will help them con­tain Cam New­ton.

Who wins? Wash­ing­ton’s Week 3 vic­tory over Green Bay showed how good the Red­skins can be. Ex­pect a sim­i­lar per­for­mance against a Pan­thers team that will keep things close but will come up short.

Red­skins, 24-21 line: Red­skins

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