CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The Panthers are expected to be without running back Christian McCaffrey and top pass rusher Brian Burns for Sunday’s game against Washington.

Panthers coach Matt Rhule said both players are doubtful after missing practice Wednesday. Cornerback Troy Pride (hip) is also doubtful and left tackle Russell Okung (calf) missed practice.

The Panthers (4-10) have been eliminated from playoff contention. However, Washington can wrap up the NFC East with a win against the Panthers combined with a victory by Baltimore over the New York Giants.

Burns, who leads Carolina with eight sacks, injured his knee last week in the fourth quarter against Green Bay.

Rhule said not having him in the lineup “really changes our defense.”

“We have been having a lot of our success in our three-down (linemen) package which Brian can get to by simply standing up and just walking out,” Rhule said. “So we will be a little more traditional and play more of the four-down (linemen) stuff” against Washington.

Rhule had been targeting this week for McCaffrey's potential return from a thigh injury. He said he hasn't completely ruled McCaffrey out, but said he would want to see him practice — something McCaffrey has not been able to do since a Nov. 8 loss at Kansas City.


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