The Panthers proved last week they aren't afraid to open up the offense, and that's just fine with their receivers. But Carolina head coach John Fox won't stray too far from the team's running game led by Stephen Davis. It's vital for the Panthers to control the ball on the ground and keep the Rams offense off the field and the crowd quiet.
Defensively, the Panthers will continue to do what they've been doing. They're playing superb football the last three weeks and may give the Rams a tougher challenge than most people think, especially if they can get pressure on Marc Bulger and force him into making some mistakes.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH: Rams WR Torry Holt vs. Panthers CB Ricky Manning. Holt is a superb receiver with plenty of experience and will be matched up at times on Manning, a rookie with a handful of starts under his belt. Look for the Rams to take advantage of this mismatch and for the Panthers to give Manning plenty of help.
Rams RB Marshall Faulk vs. Panthers LB Will Witherspoon. Faulk is on best at coming out of the back field and catch the football and making big plays. Witherspoon will be asked to match-up with Faulk coming out of the backfield and the Panthers feel like this is the best match-up for them because Witherspoon is a tremendous athlete with good coverage skills. He is also a powerful hitter who lowers his shoulder and delivers shots.
INJURY IMPACT: The Panthers expect to be almost completely healthy for Saturday's game. The only exception may be special teams player Jarrod Cooper, who could be limited with a hamstring injury.