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First Look: Rams host Panthers in Week 6 before heading into bye week

The Rams have one more game before the bye week, hosting the Panthers on Sunday at SoFi Stadium. Kickoff in Inglewood, Calif. is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. pacific time on FOX.

In advance of the contest, here is your First Look at Rams-Panthers, presented by Cedars-Sinai:

Notable Panthers additions

  • Signed unrestricted free agent G Austin Corbett to a 3-year deal in March: The Rams' former starting right guard, Corbett was brought in to help reinforce Carolina's offensive line. He has the fourth-highest run block win rate of any guard this season, according to ESPN analytics.
  • Traded for QB Baker Mayfield in July: By acquiring Mayfield from the Browns, the Panthers hoped to upgrade at quarterback after a difficult 2021 season from Sam Darnold. Mayfield so far has completed 84 of 153 pass attempts for 962 yards with four touchdowns against four interceptions.

Top performers in Week 5

Mayfield completed 20 of 36 passes for 215 yards with an interception in the Panthers' 37-15 home loss to the 49ers.

RB Christian McCaffrey led the backfield with 14 carries for 54 yards and one touchdown, also adding seven catches for 50 yards.

WR Shi Smith led Carolina's receivers with 69 receiving yards on four catches.

LB Damien Willis paced the Panthers defense with nine total tackles and one sack.

On special teams, K Eddie Pineiro made 3 of 4 field goal attempts, while P Johnny Hekker averaged 51.3 yards per punt across three punts.

Early storylines to watch, and what they mean for the Rams

The word of the week is change: As in, change on the Panthers' coaching staff and potentially at their quarterback position due to injury.

Carolina enters Week 6 with lots of turnover, having just fired head coach Matt Rhule, defensive coordinator Phil Snow and assistant special teams coach Ed Foley. There's also the matter of Mayfield reportedly dealing with a high ankle sprain sustained against the 49ers that could impact his availability this week. With Sam Darnold still progression through an ankle injury of his own, P.J. Walker would be the next man up

With defensive pass game coordinator Steve Wilks – whom Rams fans may recognize from when he was head coach of the Cardinals in 2018 – installed as interim head coach and defensive run game coordinator Al Holcomb reportedly elevated to defensive coordinator, the Panthers will try to turn things around after a 1-4 start to the season.

On paper, that would appear to present an advantageous situation for the Rams heading into Sunday's game. But as they've learned through the first five weeks of the season, nothing is a given.

Meanwhile, the Rams continue to work through injuries along their offensive line. Left guard David Edwards was placed on IR Tuesday afternoon, and head coach Sean McVay on Monday said they were still working through who would be replacing him. Veteran center Matt Skura was signed from the practice squad to the active roster as well, so it will be interesting to see whether Los Angeles sticks with the same starting five as last week or if they try something different, especially in wake of McVay saying that L.A. is "looking for any and all solutions that we think are best."

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