Cowboys at Panthers -- Week 7

Where: Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, N.C. (grass, outdoors)

When: Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (Fox)

Spread: Cowboys by 2

Forecast: Sunny; projected kickoff temperature: high-60s

Records: Cowboys (Overall: 2-3, NFC East: 1-0); Panthers (Overall: 1-4, NFC South: 1-2)

Past results: Two most recent meetings -- Sept. 28, 2009: Cowboys 21, Panthers 7; Dec. 22, 2007: Cowboys 20, Panthers 13. Series record: Cowboys hold an 8-3 edge.

What matters: The Panthers are coming off a bye week, but the team is in worse shape injury-wise than before the week off. The Panthers have lost three straight. The Cowboys have lost three of four, and quarterback Tony Romo leads the conference in interceptions. Someone is going to get a start on righting the ship this weekend, while someone's season will continue to spiral downward.

Who matters: Panthers quarterback Cam Newton had his worst game as a pro against the Seahawks and an extra week to think about his 12-of-29, 141-yard performance. He currently ranks 27th in the league in passer rating. Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant scored his first two touchdowns of the season against the Ravens last week and has 200 yards receiving in the past two games.

Key matchups: The middle of the Cowboys defensive line -- Jay Ratliff, Kenyon Coleman and Jason Hatcher -- has combined for one sack this season. They’ll be playing against a rebuilt Panthers line. Geoff Hangartner, who struggled at times at right guard, will move to center, and Byron Bell will move over from right tackle to fill his spot. Backup Garry Williams will start at right tackle.

Injuries of note: MLB Jon Beason (knee) and CB Chris Gamble (shoulder) didn’t practice on Thursday for Carolina, and coach Ron Rivera was pessimistic about their outlook. For Dallas, defensive end Sean Lissemore (ankle) and running back DeMarco Murray (foot) haven’t practiced this week.

Inside stuff: The Panthers have lost the time of possession battle by an average of seven minutes a game, putting more pressure on a injury ravaged defense. That’s not a good trend going into a game against the Cowboys, who have controlled the ball five minutes more per game than their opponents.

Connections: Guard Mackenzy Bernadeau is in his first season with the Cowboys after playing with Carolina from 2008-2011. Panthers cornerback Josh Thomas was drafted by the Cowboys in 2011 but didn’t make the team.

Stat you should know: Three of the Panthers' offensive linemen -- Williams, Bell and Amini Silatolu, have combined for 34 NFL starts.

Record watch: Left tackle Jordan Gross will tie the Panthers career record for games started. Mike Minter and Muhsin Muhammad also had 141 starts.

Bulletin board quote: “This season is far from a wash and it's time for us to prove it.” -- Newton.  

Looking ahead: The Panthers travel to Chicago for a game against the Bears. The Cowboys return home for a divisional game against the Giants. Dallas beat the defending Super Bowl champions in Week 1, 24-17.

Prediction: Cowboys 21, Panthers 10

For more up-to-the-minute news and analysis on the Carolina Panthers from blogger Shawn Krest, follow @CBSPanthers.