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  • The Carolina Panthers lead the NFL in yards before first contact The Carolina Panthers offensive line may be a constantly rotating assembly of whoever is healthy at the time , but they are playing extremely well. In one of the best metrics of run blocking efficiency and running back efficiency (this also includes Cam Newton) the Panthers have managed to gain the most yards before contact in the NFL through three weeks, and have the second highest average yards before first contact.Credit of course goes to the players who made it happen, but also to offensive line coach John Matsko, who continues to work miracles helping to identify untapped talent, and getting new guys ready to play. It’s truly amazing that they have maintained numbers like this despite losing three starters to injury for most of the games, and there’s a lot of hope that things will get even better with Trai Turner hopefully exiting the concussion protocol over the bye week.It isn’t just the offensive line though. This number has as much to do with the skill of the ball carrier as anything else. To that end, this broken tackles stat posted by Pro Football Focus makes a lot of sense.Dave Gettleman sure knows how to pick running backs it would seem. With Christian McCaffrey playing some of the best football we’ve seen at the running back position Cheap Ryan Kalil Jersey , added to the always entertaining Cam Newton show, and a little dose of C.J. Anderson in the mix... it is going to be very difficult for opposing teams to stop them on offense.The Panthers defense looks to right the ship after a disappointing performance in Atlanta After an encouraging outing against the Cowboys in week 1, the Panthers defense laid an absolute stinker in Atlanta. The Falcons sliced and diced Eric Washington’s unit to the tune of 7.4 yards per play, the highest offensive output against the Panthers since that time Cam Newton forgot to bring an extra tie on a road trip. That game was late in the 2016 season, a season in which the Panthers defense was a total mess. Still, they responded to that drubbing with a five sack, five turnover Cheap James Bradberry Jersey , one safety performance against the Chargers. They’ll look for a similar bounce back when the Bengals come to Bank of America Stadium on Sunday.The Bengals enter the week as one of the least talked about 2-0 teams in the NFL. Despite ranking just 19th in total yards per game, the Bengals sit 3rd in the league in scoring, averaging 34 points per game. They rank 4th in the league in points per drive and 5th in the league in drive success rate, according to Football Outsiders. All that is to say their offense is good. It’s not all sunshine and roses for the Bengals though. They’ll be without running back Joe Mixon this week as he recovers from an arthroscopic procedure on his knee. The sophomore sensation accounted for 236 yards and a touchdown through the first two weeks. The equally versatile Giovani Bernard will fill the void left by Mixon, so the Panthers aren’t completely out of the woods there. That brings us to our defensive keys:Don’t let another backup running back gash you. Tevin Coleman was the first running back to go over 100 yards rushing against the Panthers since December 4th, 2016. The offender on that date? Thomas Rawls, another backup running back. Giovani Bernard has been a change of pace back his entire career Cheap Cam Newton Jersey , but he has topped 80 yards in four of the last five games in which he’s received at least 15 carries. Also the Bengals just signed Thomas Rawls on Wednesday, apparently aware of his kryptonite-like effect on the Panthers. Keep James Bradberry on A.J. Green as much as possible. Last week we saw Bradberry hold Julio Jones to a reasonable 64 yards on 9 targets, with 30 of those yards coming on a circus catch in which Bradberry could do little about. The Panthers face a similarly talented wideout in Green, who sits atop the NFL with 4 receiving touchdowns to his name thus far. Green has been spending some time in the slot this season, so some coverage duties will fall to Captain Munnerlyn and the linebackers, but in an ideal world Bradberry will always be on the same side of the field as the Bengals top target. Disrupt the passing game. This is obviously easier said than done, but it’s important to note. Andy Dalton has been sacked on just 2.78% of his drop backs Cheap DJ Moore Jersey , the sixth lowest mark in the league. The lack of pressure has resulted in fewer mistakes for the eighth year pro, as he’s currently sporting the best interception rate of his career. The Panthers front line struggled to get any sort of pressure on Matt Ryan last week and are in for a similarly tough task. However, Dalton is much more susceptible to mistakes under pressure than Ryan is, so the Panthers shouldn’t be afraid to be more aggressive with their blitzing. After one strong performance and one weak one, the Panthers defense currently sits right in the middle of the league in terms of yards and points. This home match-up against a strong Bengals offense will be a great litmus test for the defense heading into the week 4 bye.