The Panthers have scored on at least the first two drives of their past four games, and opened leads of 23-0 and 31-0 the past two games, in wins against Atlanta and San Diego. Oakland coach Dennis Allen said it’s critical to keep the Panthers off the scoreboard early to keep the crowd out of the game and allow the Raiders to stick with their game plan. If Carolina goes up early, it can turn defensive ends Charles Johnson and Greg Hardy loose.
Protect this ball
Cam Newton has gone five games without an interception, a streak of 152 passes that broke Jake Delhomme’s team record of 150 passes without a pick. During the five-game stretch, the Panthers have a plus-7 turnover margin, with nine takeaways and two fumbles. The Raiders are 23rd in the league with a minus-7 turnover margin. They turned an interception into a field goal last week in a 15-0 win vs. Kansas City.
Raiders’ rushing attack
Oakland rushed for a season-high 203 yards last week against the Chiefs. Darren McFadden had his third 100-yard rushing game of the season, and former Panthers back Mike Goodson rushed for a season-high 89 yards. The Panthers allowed Doug Martin, Bryce Brown and Jamaal Charles to top 100 yards in consecutive games. But their run defense has not been tested the past two games because Atlanta and San Diego were forced to throw to try to catch up. The Raiders have an NFL-low three rushing touchdowns.