With two struggling franchises ready to pit two struggling offenses against one another, Week 12's matchup between the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos will be some sort of doozy.
So, for better or for worse, here are the top storylines of the upcoming contest.
Third time's a charm?
AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman
With PJ Walker still nursing a high-ankle sprain and Baker Mayfield still, uh, not being good, the Panthers will be turning to Sam Darnold-their third different starting quarterback of the season.
Darnold, who has nursed his own high-ankle sprain, will be making his 2022 debut on Sunday. It'll be his first piece of regular-season action since last year, when the bottom completely fell out from an impressive 3-0 start to 2021.
As the bye week awaits on the other side of this contest, Darnold could give interim head coach Steve Wilks a lot to think about with a solid performance. So, can he keep the job and keep his NFL career alive with a good step forward against Denver?
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No one could've forecasted this future for Russell Wilson.
The quarterback-away Broncos shipped off a king's ransom to Seattle in the spring to land the 33-year-old quarterback-a haul that included a pair of first-round picks, a pair of second-round picks, a fifth-round pick, defensive lineman Shelby Harris, quarterback Drew Lock and tight end Noah Fant. And so far, Denver's received a limited return on that knee-high investment.
Wilson is currently sitting on career-lows in completion percentage (59.5), touchdown percentage (2.3), passer rating (83.3) and quarterback rating (32.6). That output, obviously, has helped drive Denver's offense into the ground-as they've scored an NFL-worst 14.6 points per game.
Can the Panthers keep Russ and the Broncos down?
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As the first two cornerbacks drafted in 2021 (and on back-to-back picks, no less), Jaycee Horn and Patrick Surtain II will be forever linked. They may also soon be linked as two of the game's very top players at the position.
Both defenders have already put the league on notice. Surtain is starring on one of the NFL's premier defenses while Horn has allowed the lowest passer rating amongst all starting corners.
With both youngsters already seeing their pedigree, talent, skill and doggedness translate onto the field-it's only a matter of time until they're held in the highest regard at the spot. So, let's see who really shines when they're both in the same stadium on Sunday.
Story originally appeared on Panthers Wire