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NFL Carolina Panthers

5 Carolina Panthers Who Will Shine in Week 7

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5 Carolina Panthers Who Will Shine in Week 7

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

The Carolina Panthers are yet again coming off a big win, and yet again they encounter an NFC West opponent. The Panthers have stellar in each of their big wins against the Minnesota Vikings and New York Giants, but they lost in embarrassing fashion to the Arizona Cardinals in the wake of the Giants victory. They need to be careful this week against the St. Louis Rams because they are very similar to the Cardinals, a stout defense complemented by an offense that struggles at times but can also bring surprises.

The Panthers and Rams have clashed many times in the short history of the Panthers, the two being former division foes in the NFC West, before the NFC South was formed. The last time they faced each other on the gridiron the Panthers dominated defensively, beating the Rams 16-0. The Rams have been much improved since then, adding superior athletes like Robert Quinn and Tavon Austin to a roster that was once the laughingstock of the NFC.

Of course, it wasn't long ago as well that the Panthers roster was in ruins, trying to rebuild in the no-man's era that came between the departure of Jake Delhomme and the arrival of Cam Newton. The Panthers too have added superior athletes such as the aforementioned Newton as well as Luke Kuechly and Star Lutulelei. It will be interesting to see the disparity between the quality and style of play of the current teams and the quality and style of play of the teams the last time that they met, and I think both team's fan bases will be pleased. But without further ado, here are the Carolina Panthers who will shine in their matchup against the Rams.

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Charles Johnson

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Johnson seems to show up in every game he plays in, but in this matchup he should make a considerable impact. Roger Saffold has struggled as a pass blocker since joining the Rams out of Indiana, and he should have his hands full against Johnson. Sam Bradford will have a hard day on Sunday, and he will attribute most of his bruises to Johnson. Two sacks, one forced fumble.

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Brandon Lafell

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Lafell has really begun to take on the role of the No. 2 receiver this year, notching his first 100-yard game last week and hauling in three touchdowns in five games. He's really become the go to guy on third down, converting a number with his improved route running. With Janoris Jenkins covering Steve Smith, Lafell should be able to find ample room. Eight catches, 112 yards, one touchdown.

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Thomas Davis

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Davis has been a flat-out beast since returning from his third knee injury, continuing his reputation as a superior run defender, while also dominating in coverage and generating pressure on the pass rush. Davis will be asked to cover Jared Cook one-on-one while also helping with Tavon Austin and defending the Rams sub-par running game. Davis certainly will have a lot on his place, but I'm sure he can handle it. 12 tackles, one sack, one interception.

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DeAngelo Williams

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Williams is making a comeback this year with the offense shifting to a power run-based offense, and he is on pace for another 1,000-yard season. The Rams have a linebacking corps that is comparable to the Panthers, with James Laurinaitis, Alec Ogletree and Jo-Lonn Dunbar all being capable of big plays, but the interior of their defensive line is vulnerable. Williams should be able to pick his way inside with his slashing style. 23 carries, 132 yards, one touchdown.

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Ryan Kalil

Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Speaking of a weak defensive interior, that's where Kalil comes in. Kalil will need to dominate on the interior, which he is more than capable of, against Kendall Langford and Michael Brockers to give Cam Newton room to step up and room for Williams to run. Kalil needs to consistently get to the second level on running plays for the Panthers offense to roll, because the people who will break down the run game aren't Langford and Brockers, it's Laurinaitis and Ogletree.