INDIANAPOLIS – The Colts will try to end the longest win streak in the NFL on Monday night.
Carolina will bring a 10-game regular season win streak with them when they host the Colts in Week Eight.
It's a Panthers team that prides itself on tremendous play up the middle, on both sides of the football.
The offense is carried by the league's top rushing attack (144.7 yards per game), leaning on veteran Jonathan Stewart and the ultimate dual-threat quarterback in Cam Newton.
Stewart has forced 26 missed tackles in six games this season, the second most in the NFL (per Pro Football Focus).
In Newton, while his passing prowess has been inconsistent this season (only completing 55.8 percent of his passes), the 6-5, 240-pound quarterback has 245 rushing yards and four touchdowns.
Newton was at his best this season in leading the Panthers to a 27-23 road victory over Seattle two weeks back, marking the first time the 2011 No. 1 pick has beaten the Seahawks in five career tries.
The offense is backed by a top-10 Panthers defense, allowing just 18.3 points per game through six weeks.
Up the middle, the Panthers are particularly stout.
Former Purdue defensive tackle Kawann Short has 22 quarterback hurries on the year, the most for any 4-3 interior lineman (per Pro Football Focus). Short, who captured an IHSAA State Basketball Championship at East Chicago in 2007, also leads the Panthers with five sacks this year.
Behind Short, All-Pro inside linebacker Luke Kuehcly has returned from a concussion which sidelined him for three weeks.
Cornerback Josh Norman might not yet have the name recognition of the some of the league's top corners, but he's known very well among NFL circles.
Norman leads the NFL in allowing a miniscule passer rating of 23.4 in balls thrown his way this season.
Monday will pit the two "oldest" teams in the NFL. The Panthers roster has an average age of 26.9. The Colts average age is 27.2.
In their next three games, the Colts will play Carolina, Denver and @Atlanta, who have a combined record of 18-1.
*2015 Record: *6-0, First in the NFC South.
*Head Coach: *Ron Rivera, 5th season as Panthers head coach and 5th season as NFL head coach (38-31-1 overall in the regular season, 1-2 in the postseason).
*2015 NFL Rankings: *Offense – Overall, 22nd (344.2); Rushing, 1st (144.7); Passing, 29th (199.4). Defense – Overall, 9th (339.8); Rushing, 18th (110.0); Passing, 8th (229.8).
2015 Leading Passer: Cam Newton (101-of-181 comp., 1,275 yards, 55.8 pct., 9 TDs, 7 INTs).
*2015 Leading Rusher: *Jonathan Stewart (103 carries, 423 yards, 2 TDs).
*2015 Leading Receiver: *Greg Olsen (27 receptions, 439 yards, 3 TDs).
2015 Leading Sacker: Kawann Short (5.0)
2015 Turnover Breakdown: Plus 4 (tied for 6th in the NFL)
2015 NFL Draft Results: Many draft pundits thought the Panthers would take an offensive lineman in the latter stages of the first round. Instead, Carolina chose versatile defender Shaq Thompson out of Washington. In the second round, the Panthers addressed a need at wide receiver by moving up 16 spots to take Michigan's big pass catcher Devin Funchess. Through six games, Funchess has just six catches this season and that's with Carolina losing Kelvin Benjamin, last year's top wide receiver, in Training Camp to an ACL injury.
2014 Review:The 2015 AFC South looks to be following a similar script to the 2014 NFC South. Carolina headed into December last season at 3-8-1, having gone winless in the previous months. The Panthers won their last four games of the season and captured the division. Carolina made the most of their playoff appearance by winning their Wild Card matchup over the banged up Arizona Cardinals.
Last time in Playoffs: 2014 season. Lost in the Divisional Round of the playoffs, 31-17, against the Seattle Seahawks.
*Last time in Super Bowl: *2003 season. Lost Super Bowl XXXVIII, 32-29, to the New England Patriots.
*Super Bowl Championships: *None.
2015 Pro Bowl Selections: TE-Greg Olsen, LB-Luke Kuechly.