The 4-6 Jets will play host to the 7-3 Panthers this Sunday with their slim playoff hopes dangling by a thread. If this scenario seems familiar to you, then you’re certainly right.
The Jets were in this exact situation in 2009. 4-6 at Week 12 with the Panthers coming to town— NYJFO (4-6) (@nyjetsfansonly) November 21, 2017
Jets won 17-6 and went to the AFCCG pic.twitter.com/NsQrcHd48D
With that, here is a look at some of the Panthers statistics that stand out the most heading into the matchup in northern New Jersey.
-7: Carolina’s turnover differential, 27th in the league. Their 7-3 record in spite of this number is really impressive. They’re the only team with a winning record in the bottom ten of turnover margin, and the only 7+ win team in the bottom half of the rankings. Offensively, their 16 turnovers ranks as the 11th most, while their 9 takeaways is the 4th fewest. The Panthers are 0-3 this season when turning the ball over 3+ times, and 7-0 when turning it over two times or less.
2: Number of teams ranked in the top four of rushing yards per game allowed and passing yards per game allowed; the Jaguars and Panthers. Curiously, the Jets put up a season high 471 yards when they hosted Jacksonville’s #1 defense back in early October. The Panthers are 10th in fewest rushing yards allowed per attempt and 9th in net passing yards allowed per attempt.
47%: Carolina’s 3rd down conversion rate, tops in the NFL. With this third down success comes a very interesting counterpart. The Panthers have turned the ball over on 6.3% of their third down plays, also highest in the league and almost triple the NFL average of 2.2%. The primary reason for their success on 3rd down has been Cam Newton’s legs. His 14 rushing first downs on 3rd down is the most of any player, including running backs.
62.1%: Cam Newton’s completion percentage, a career high. A huge reason is rookie running back Christian McCaffrey, whose team-high 57 receptions is already a team record for a running back, beating Jonathan Stewart’s previous record of 47 in 2011.
3.4%: Cam Newton’s interception rate, a career high. As mentioned earlier, much of those struggles have come on 3rd down. A league-high 9 of his 11 picks have come on 3rd down, almost twice as many as second-ranked Philip Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger who have 5 each. He has a 61.1 passer rating on 3rd down, 35th of 37 quarterbacks with at least 40 attempts (ahead of only Brett Hundley and DeShone Kizer).
10th: Carolina’s ranking in Special Teams DVOA. Their best units are their field goal kicker, Graham Gano, and their punting team. Gano has connected on 20 of 21 field goals this season, a rate of 95.2% that puts the Panthers at 3rd in the league. They also rank 10th in both fewest yards per punt return allowed and fewest yards per kick return allowed, as punter Michael Palardy leads a unit ranked 5th in average net yards per punt.
Which Carolina unit will be the toughest matchup for the Jets?
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