A few notes about the Panthers' 1 p.m. home game against Washington Sunday, followed by my prediction (I am 2-1 predicting Panther games so far this season but missed on the Dallas game two weeks ago):
-- This is a game where the Panthers need to run something like 40 times for 180 yards. That’s their game plan for success. Quarterback Jake Delhomme is so much more effective if teams actually believe the play-action fake occasionally.
-- One big problem for Carolina: Washington’s 350-pound defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth. He may be the league’s best run-stuffer. The last time he played Carolina, in 2007, he also had three sacks (while playing for Tennessee and running after the hapless David Carr).
When asked about Haynesworth this week, Panther running back DeAngelo Williams said: “That’s the million dollar man over there – the $100 million man. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to short him $99 million.” Indeed, Haynesworth signed a seven-year, $100 million contract with the Redskins this offseason.
-- When asked what sort of impact Haynesworth can make, Williams said: “Huge. I mean, in all aspects – his body size and his wallet and his game on the field. He is a three-dimensional player.” I just love that quote.
-- Another big question Sunday: Which No.89 is more electrifying? The Redskins’ Santana Moss has had better statistics than Carolina’s Steve Smith so far in 2009, scoring twice on TDs of more than 55 yards. They are similarly (under)sized players with similar skill sets, so you'll see both of them streaking deep a number of times Sunday afternoon.
-- After a week off, the Panthers are about as healthy as they have been over the past month and they are playing a team with just about as many problems as they have. I think Carolina pulls out its first win of the season. My prediction: Carolina 23, Washington 17.