STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES — Panthers’ playoff chances slipping amid four-game losing streak. … Carolina is half-game behind Minnesota for second NFC wild-card spot. … Carolina has lost last three games by combined seven points. … Panthers’ biggest problem: QB Cam Newton’s health. Newton dealing with soreness in surgically repaired right shoulder, affecting ability to throw deep. … Newton had four INTs last week. … Newton has TD pass in 11 consecutive games, second-longest streak in league. He needs 1 yard to reach 3,000 for eighth straight season. Peyton Manning is only QB to start career with eight consecutive 3,000-yard seasons. … Panthers averaging 140.8 rushing yards per game, only behind Seattle’s 148.8. … RB Christian McCaffrey had 161 total yards last week, becoming first player with five straight games of 50 yards rushing, 50 yards receiving. … Tireless McCaffrey has been on field for 97.4 percent of Panthers’ plays. … Panthers DJ Moore leads all rookie wide receivers with 759 yards from scrimmage. … Panthers lost TE Greg Olsen for season last week (ruptured plantar fascia). … Panthers coach Ron Rivera has assumed defensive play calling from coordinator Eric Washington. Carolina D has been poor on third down and creating turnovers. … Rivera fired D-line line coach Brady Hoke and assistant secondary/cornerbacks coach Jeff Imamura. … Browns’ playoff chances took big hit last week. Cleveland fell behind 23-0 in first half before losing at Houston. Rookie QB Baker Mayfield had worst game in month, throwing three interceptions in first half — most since freshman season at Texas Tech. … Mayfield recovered and passed for 351 yards after halftime, completing 24 of 30 passes. He set team rookie record with 397 yards passing vs. Texans. … Offensive line has not allowed sack in past three games, longest stretch since 1988. … DE Myles Garrett has team-leading 11 ½ sacks. … Browns lead AFC with 27 takeaways. … Browns DB Terrence Mitchell returns after missing eight games with broken wrist. … Browns 2-2 under interim coach Gregg Williams. … Cleveland likely to be without rookie CB Denzel Ward (concussion). … Fantasy tip: Mayfield accepted blame for last week’s early turnovers and could have big bounce back against mediocre Carolina secondary.
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