Previewing the Bills Week 15 matchup with the Carolina Panthers

Bills rookie quarterback Josh Allen makes an off balance throw as he is pressured by Efe Obada in a 28-23 to the Carolina Panthers in the preseason.Jg 080918 Bills 5
Bills rookie quarterback Josh Allen makes an off balance throw as he is pressured by Efe Obada in a 28-23 to the Carolina Panthers in the preseason.Jg 080918 Bills 5 /

In Week 14, the Buffalo Bills lost a 33-27 overtime heartbreaker to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This week, the Bills return to Orchard Park to take on a reeling Carolina Panthers team.

Buffalo Bills’ All-Time Record vs the Panthers

The Buffalo Bills are 5-2 all-time against the Panthers. Carolina’s two wins against the Bills have been by a combined ten points, and the average margin between the two teams all-time is 5.85 points in favor of Buffalo.

Last Meeting

The Buffalo Bills and the Carolina Panthers last met in Week 2 of the 2017 season. This game was a snoozefest, with neither offense surpassing 255 yards, yet neither one turned the ball over either. Carolina won the game 9-3, dropping the Bills to 1-1 on the season.

Last Week’s Result

In Week 14, the Panthers lost to the Atlanta Falcons 29-21 in a game that was crucial towards the playoff hopes of both teams. Cam Newton struggled again in this one, completing 15 of 23 passes for 179 yards and an interception. He was relieved by P.J Walker for the second week in a row, who went 6 of 12 passing for 75 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

Season Numbers

Carolina’s offense is broken without Christian McCaffery. Despite playing in just seven games before going on injured reserve to end his season, McCaffery is still second on the Panthers in receptions (37) and trails Chuba Hubbard in rushing by just 18 yards, despite having 33 fewer carries. D.J. Moore has been the most reliable weapon on offense for Carolina in McCaffery’s absence, catching 72 passes for 938 yards and four touchdowns.

Quarterback play has been the main culprit of Carolina’s struggles this season, however. Sam Darnold, Cam Newton, and P.J Walker have combined to complete just 58.6 percent of their passes for 2,815 yards, 11 touchdowns, 17 interceptions, and a dismal 69.5 passer rating.

Defensively, the Panthers have quietly been one of the league’s best units. They are eighth in points allowed, and second in total yards allowed, and first in passing yards allowed. They are 20th in rush defense, so much like the Bills, they are great against the pass, but struggle to stop the run. The Carolina defense is also tied for tenth in sacks this season with 32.

Final Thoughts

This game is crucial for both teams to keep their playoff hopes alive. The Bills are the seventh seed in the AFC at 7-6, coming off consecutive losses, but their schedule lightens up significantly outside of a Week 16 trip to Foxborough to take on the Patriots.

The Panthers are on the outside looking in amongst the NFC Wild Card hunt. They sit at 5-8, just a game back of the seventh seeded Washington Football Team. If Carolina is going to make a run at the playoffs, the charge will be led by their defense.

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The Bills finally showed signs of life in their loss to Tampa, but they have to take care of business going forward. Josh Allen is day-to-day with a foot sprain, and the Bills better hope he can play against one of the league’s best secondaries, because if Mitch Trubisky has to start against a formidable Carolina secondary, Buffalo’s playoff hopes may take a nosedive.