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Panthers RB Jonathan Stewart ruled out for Week 16

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The Panthers will go another week without the services of Jonathan Stewart.

Coach Ron Rivera confirmed Thursday that Carolina's workhorse back has been ruled out for Sunday's road tilt with the Atlanta Falcons.

Stewart hasn't practiced this week after missing last Sunday's drama-draped victory over the Giants with the sprained foot he sustained in Week 14.

The Panthers are in no mood to rush Stewart -- not with visions of the Super Bowl dancing in their heads -- so look for another healthy dose of Cameron Artis-Payne, Fozzy Whittaker and Pro Bowl fullback Mike Tolbert.

Stewart has been a foundational force in Carolina stretching back to the end of last season, but this club's ground game is unique: Even without a true lead back, it's among the league's best with Cam Newton barreling for 500-plus yards on the ground for a fifth-straight season.

The Falcons are likely mincemeat with or without Stewart on the field, so getting everyone ready for January makes the most sense for the heat-seeking Panthers.

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