Jonathan Stewart
Running back Jonathan Stewart #28 of the Carolina Panthers carries the ball against the Green Bay Packers during a NFL game at Bank of America Stadium on December 17, 2017 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Ronald C. Modra/Sports Imagery/Getty Images)

What Makes the Carolina Panthers a Scary Playoff Contender?

The answer lies in a newly unstoppable running game.

The Carolina Panthers will head into the NFL’s final regular season game knowing they’ll have more games to play in January, thanks to a 22-19 victory over the Buccaneers Sunday. According to The Ringer, the key to the Panthers’ late season success has been a return to an eclectic and efficient running game. Despite Cam Newton’s up-and-down play as a passer, the Panthers topped the league in rushing yards, and ranked second in yards per attempt and rushing touchdowns between Weeks 8 and 15. The uptick in the running game is owed not just to running backs Jonathan Stewart and Christian McCaffrey, but also to Newton himself, who has had several tremendous games on the ground. The Panthers will head to Atlanta this weekend, with playoff seeding on the line.

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