4:05 PM ET, November 13, 2005
NY Jets (2-6) at Carolina (6-2), Sunday 4:05 pm EST
CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (Ticker) -- The Carolina Panthers are looking like the team that made the Super Bowl two seasons ago.
On Sunday, the Panthers seek their sixth straight win when they host the injury-riddled New York Jets in an interconference game.
Carolina extended its winning streak to five games with a 34-14 victory over Tampa Bay last weekend. The Panthers rode the power of Stephen Davis, the speed of Steve Smith and a defense that forced four turnovers and recorded five sacks.
Davis banged in for a pair of short touchdowns and Smith caught five passes for 106 yards, including a 35-yard touchdown.
The Jets may want to use cornerback Ty Law, who has four interceptions this season, to shadow Smith. Law had five tackles and defended a pass for the New England Patriots in their 32-29 win over the Panthers in Super Bowl XXXVIII.
But even Law may not be able to deal with Smith's speed. Smith leads the NFL with 55 catches for 903 yards and nine touchdowns this season after missing all but one game last year with a broken leg.
That was one of many injuries for the Panthers, who finished 7-9 last year. The Jets are having more than their share of injuries this season after nearly reaching the AFC championship game last season.
Starting quarterback Chad Pennington, backup quarterback Jay Fiedler, center Kevin Mawae, starting outside linebacker Eric Barton, wide receiver Wayne Chrebet and tight end Chris Baker have been sidelined with injuries for New York. All but Fiedler were placed on IR.
Last week, Chrebet suffered a concussion and Baker broke his left ankle in the Jets' 31-26 loss to San Diego.
Coach Herman Edwards will start Bollinger against the Panthers. It will be the second career start for the third-year quarterback - his previous one a 13-3 loss at Baltimore on October 2.
Bollinger also should watch for Panthers cornerback Chris Gamble, who returned an interception 61 yards for a touchdown last week. He has three picks this season after recording six interceptions as a rookie last year.
The Panthers are tied with Atlanta, which hosts Green Bay, for first place in the NFC South.
The NFL's No. 1 ranked run defense, the Panthers held rookie Carnell "Cadillac" Williams to 29 yards on 11 carries last week. On Sunday, they will face Curtis Martin, the NFL's fourth all-time leading rusher.
Matchup to watch: Jets' second-year left tackle Adrian Jones lines up against Rucker.
Series: The Jets lead, 2-1, winning the last meeting in 2001.
Next week: NY Jets visit Denver, November 20 Carolina visits Chicago, November 20
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Panthers will attack Bollinger
Jets QB Brooks Bollinger will start over Vinny Testaverde, who has been slowed by a calf injury. While Bollinger played well in relief last week, he lacks ideal experience and Carolina will try to take advantage. The Panthers will stack the line with eight men on downs with run-heavy tendencies, in the hopes of giving their explosive front four opportunities to fly upfield on downs with pass-heavy tendencies. The Jets can't afford to turn the ball over in this game, so giving Bollinger enough time to make sound decisions and deliver the ball with confidence is pivotal to their success.
The Panthers' relatively balanced offensive attack should continue to use the run to set up the vertical passing game. A steady diet of RBs Stephen Davis and DeShaun Foster early will force the Jets' safeties to play closer to the line and keep the Jets front four on its heels. The key for the Jets is not getting lulled to sleep by the run, because that's when QB Jake Delhomme will look for WR Steve Smith downfield.
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|Avg Points Allowed||22.2||18.4|
Team Averages & NFL Ranks
|TEAM OFFENSE||TEAM||PER GAME AVERAGE|
|TEAM DEFENSE||TEAM||PER GAME AVERAGE|
|Pass Yds Allowed||NYJ|
|Rush Yds Allowed||NYJ|
Head to Head Matchups (Since 2001)
|Series tied 1-1|
|Oct 28, 2001||NYJ 13, @CAR 12|