The Carolina Panthers defense seems to be finding its stride in recent weeks.

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    They gave up 28 points to the Buccaneers , but only ceded 4.6 yards per play to what had been the NFL’s best offense in terms of offense coming into the week. That performance was preceded by holding the Eagles and Ravens to 17 and 21 points respectively, both below those team’s averages. But tonight’s test will be tougher than any of the previous three. The Pittsburgh Steelers enter this Week 10 showdown ranked fourth in the NFL in total yards and ninth in scoring. They scored 74 total points in their last two home games, which is part of a four game winning streak they’re currently riding. Even without Le’Veon Bell, the Steelers offense is humming. With little time to prepare, it’s unfair to expect the Panthers defense to completely stifle Ben Roethlisberger and company. The Steelers are going to move the ball. They’re going to score points. But there are things the defense can do to give the Panthers a chance:Tighten up in the red zone. The Steelers have the second most efficient red zone offense. The Panthers have the second least efficient red zone defense. Weird stuff happens on Thursday nights, and that needs to be the case here. With the Steelers boasting too many weapons to completely shut down, the Panthers defense will need to force field goal attempts instead of touchdowns at the very least. As an added bonus, kicker Chris Boswell has missed three of his ten field goal attempts and four extra point tries, so field goal attempts are not free points for the Steelers. Get Ben Roethlisberger all the way to the ground. Big Ben is one of the league’s best quarterbacks at escaping from sacks. Whether it be because his feet are planted so firmly in the ground that he won’t fall or because he makes an ill advised pass while in the grasp of defenders that somehow doesn’t get intercepted, he’s almost unsackable. The Steelers are one of only three teams that have allowed fewer sacks than the Panthers this year, giving up only 11 all year. The Panthers have averaged a respectable three sacks per game over their last three, with defensive end Mario Addison accounting for four total during that stretch. They need to build off that momentum tonight. Limit run after catch yards. The Steelers have three players in the top twenty in total yards after catch this season- Antonio Brown, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and James Conner. All three are dynamic with the ball in their hands, so the secondary and the linebackers need be sure with their tackling. The Panthers defense will be stretched to their limit tonight, but recent performances suggest that they could be up to the task. The Steelers defense Shaq Thompson Jersey , while better lately, is fallible. Just like last week, the defense just needs to make a few big plays and key stops to give the Panthers a chance to win. As Panthers quarterback Cam Newton has grown older, his game has changed.His palate has matured as well.Newton joked that he spent his mini-bye weekend after their loss last Thursday enjoying a glass of wine and a cigar, indulgences he’s only recently acquired.鈥淚鈥檓 29 years old,鈥?Newton said, via Marcel Louis-Jacques of the Charlotte Observer, 鈥渁nd you know I ain鈥檛 eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and animal crackers at night.鈥淪o many people are into it. It is relaxing, it is something that warms the soul, so to speak, with a very rigorous day that you would imagine I could have at times.鈥漀ewton has consulted with one of the Panthers’ food service company supervisors, Rudy Patino, who is an actual sommelier, as he tries to learn what he likes and why (he’s currently drinking sauvignon blanc. Well hopefully not currently, it’s the morning, and while he’s older he’s not a suburban soccer mom yet).鈥淲e have a sommelier on staff Authentic C.J. Anderson Jersey , Mr. Rudy. I didn鈥檛 know that until last year, I was giving a couple players one of my favorite wines and he was just telling me everything about it,鈥?Newton said. 鈥淚 had just watched the documentary on Netflix, ‘Somm,’ and that was just so cool to me.鈥淚 feel like if I had a gift or a hidden talent outside of playing an instrument, I would want to be a sommelier. Those senses that you have 鈥?for those who don鈥檛 know it, it鈥檚 being able to distinctively tell what type of wine it is, where it鈥檚 from and everything about the wine by just the taste, the look and pretty much the feel of the wine.鈥淚t was just pretty cool to come across a person on a day to day basis that knows what they鈥檙e talking about. It鈥檚 just like playing football, it鈥檚 an ongoing thing that you have to constantly keep taking your nose and your tastebuds through.鈥滻n that way, it’s like his development as a passer, as he’s completing passes at a career-high 68.5 percent clip, and still using his skills as a runner to keep the Panthers offense moving.

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