Panthers, Saints Flexed For Prime Time Divisional Match-Up
By Danny Cox
The Carolina Panthers have won seven games in a row and have an 8-3 record through 12 weeks of the season. Sadly, that is only good enough for second place in the NFC South, but they’re still getting a lot of attention and it is incredibly deserved.
With that attention comes extra added pressure as well.
The NFL has decided to flex the Panthers upcoming game with the New Orleans Saints on December 8, 2013 with the prime time slot move to Sunday Night Football. With the move, the NFC South leaders will battle it out for what could be a big decision game for division supremacy.
The Panthers and Saints still have two games to play against one another, and it’s possible that winning both could be important for either squad.
Looking at things on paper, one might say that the Panthers have a schedule that is a bit more favorable than that of the Saints.
Remaining on the schedule for New Orleans are the Seattle Seahawks (10-1), St. Louis Rams (5-6), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-8), and two games against the Panthers.
The Panthers have the Saints twice, Buccaneers, Atlanta Falcons (2-9), and New York Jets (5-6).
Neither team has the most favorable schedule in the world, but Carolina’s remaining games are looking like the better route to take toward a divisional title and a top seed in the playoffs. Carolina cannot take the Falcons or Buccaneers for granted though.
The Buccaneers are up next and they have won three in a row after starting off the season 0-8. Tampa Bay isn’t giving up on anything even though they’ve pretty much got nothing left to play for in this season. Their three victories have been hard fought and shown that they can overcome adversity and injuries.
Atlanta may be 2-9 and having one of the worst seasons they’ve had in decades, but they’re still a good team. Matt Ryan is finding new targets with Julio Jones out for the season and Roddy White ailing. No matter how many injuries the Falcons suffer through and how long their losing streak is, they continue to play hard.
The Jets are an up-and-down team that play well one week and not so well the next. Carolina will have to be prepared for whatever the Jets bring to the field.
With that being said, the two games against the Saints could decide a lot of things as the postseason approaches.
The Carolina Panthers are going to be on a grand stage when they face off in two weeks with the Saints on NBC Sunday Night Football. It’s a game that could end up separating first place from second place in the NFC South and maybe even home-field advantage in the playoffs.
Carolina has it in them, but they’ve just got to keep on proving it.
For more Carolina Panthers news and updates, visit Carolina Panthers Central.
Danny Cox knows a little something about the NFL, whether it means letting you know what penalty will come from the flag just thrown on the field or quickly spouting off who the Chicago Bears drafted in the first round of the 1987 draft (Jim Harbaugh). He plans on bringing you the best news, previews, recaps, and anything else that may come along with the exciting world of the National Football League. Danny is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.