TALE OF THE TAPE

Week 16: Oakland Raiders At Carolina Panthers

Raiders
Panthers
Kansas City Chiefs v Oakland Raiders
Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Carolina Panthers
Quarterback
Carson Palmer has had a difficult season playing quarterback for a subpar team like the Raiders. He has not had the greatest protection from his offensive line and he has rarely gotten the support from the other skill-position players, but he has hung in there and played competitively. He was not on top of his game vs. the Chiefs in Week 15, but he did not make any mistakes.
Winner Cam Newton appears to be back in form. While the season has been disappointing overall for both his team and himself, Newton’s talent is undeniable. In the 31-7 victory over the Chargers in Week 15, Newton completed 19-of-33 passes for 231 yards with two TDs. That allowed the Panthers to take charge and they did not relinquish their command.
Offense
The running game was in good form against the Chiefs. Darren McFadden rushed for 110 yards and if he can come through with a similar effort against the Panthers, the Raiders will have a chance for a rare road win. Denarius Moore and Darrius Heyward-Bey are two of the main targets for Palmer and both can get down the field and make big plays.
Winner The Panthers got a very aggressive game from wide receiver Steve Smith in their win over the Chargers. Smith’s statistics were not overwhelming – he caught six passes for 57 yards – but one of those receptions was a touchdown and he did a solid job of blocking. DeAngelo Williams is a solid running threat who can ease the pressure on Newton.
Defense
The Raiders are coming off a shutout, but when the opponent is the Kansas City Chiefs, you have to take the achievement with a grain of salt. The Raiders have had problems playing consistently on the defensive side of the ball. They rank 26th against the pass and 23rd overall. Outside linebacker Philip Wheeler leads the team with 104 tackles.
Winner The Panthers are playing much more competitively, but they have not been consistent at this point. The Panthers held the Chargers to 121 passing yards and they have the 10th ranked pass defense in the league. Defensive ends Charles Johnson and Greg Hardy have combined for 21.5 sacks while rookie linebacker Luke Kuechly is a tackling machine.
Special Teams
Winner Sebastian Janikowski continues to do a solid job for the Raiders. He connected on five field goals in the win over the Chiefs, providing the Raiders with all the points they would score in the game. Janikowski still has the strongest leg in the league. Punter Shane Lechler still has plenty of power and he is averaging 47.6 yards per punt.
The Panthers have struggled on special teams. Graham Gano has made all five of his FG attempts since taking over at the placekicker position. Punter Brad Nortman has been a liability. He is averaging 42.4 yards per punt, but his net is just 35.7 yards per kick.

The Winner Is

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Carolina Panthers
Winner Panthers
3 out of 4

The Panthers have endured a disappointing season, but they have played much better football in the second half of the season. Jerry Richardson may not have the patience to let the coaching staff come back for the 2013 season. However, it would be wrong to blame head coach Ron Rivera for this team’s shortcomings.

MORE TALES OF THE TAPE

  1. INDIANAPOLIS, IN - NOVEMBER 20:  Andrew Luck #12 of the Indianapolis Colts runs with the ball during the second half of the game against the Tennessee Titans at Lucas Oil Stadium on November 20, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 27:  Ryan Fitzpatrick #14 of the New York Jets looks to throw a pass against the New England Patriots in the game at MetLife Stadium on November 27, 2016 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Justin Heiman/Getty Images)
    Week 13 Tale Of The Tape: Indianapolis Colts at New York Jets

    The Colts are still alive for the playoffs while the Jets are just playing out the string.

  2. OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 27:  Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers looks to pass against the Oakland Raiders during their NFL game on November 27, 2016 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) TAMPA, FL - NOVEMBER 27:  Quarterback Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks runs for several yards on the quarterback keeper during the second quarter of an NFL game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on November 27, 2016 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
    Week 13 Tale Of The Tape: Carolina Panthers at Seattle Seahawks

    The Panthers travel to Seattle for a date with the Seahawks.

  3. TAMPA, FL - NOVEMBER 27:  Quarterback Jameis Winston #3 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers looks for a receiver during the third quarter of an NFL game against the Seattle Seahawks on November 27, 2016 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images) SAN DIEGO, CA - NOVEMBER 13:  Philip Rivers #17 of the San Diego Chargers passes the ball during a game against the Miami Dolphins at Qualcomm Stadium on November 13, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
    Week 13 Tale Of The Tape: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at San Diego Chargers

    The Bucs are in second place in the NFC South and look to keep pace with the Falcons as they match-up with a tough Chargers team.

See All Tales of the Tape

More From CBS Los Angeles

KNX 1070 Newsradio
Play.It
Follow Us On Twitter

Listen Live