Carolina Panthers Control Their Own Destiny En Route To The Playoffs

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By Danny Cox

CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 15: Captain Munnerlyn #41 of the Carolina Panthers celebrates after returning an interception for a touchdown against the New York Jets during play at Bank of America Stadium on December 15, 2013 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Panthers won 30-20. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

(Credit, Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

This past weekend, the Carolina Panthers defeated the New York Jets 30-20 at Bank of America Stadium and secured a season that will end with at least double-digit victories and most likely a spot in the playoffs. Thanks to some help from other teams, the Panthers have now re-gained control of their own destiny.

When the New Orleans Saints embarrassed the Panthers two weeks ago, it looked as if the seeding of the NFC South had been set in stone.

Now, one more game has passed and the Panthers picked up an easy win by the Saints, who were upset by the St. Louis Rams.

After falling behind early, the Saints tried to come back time and time again, but the Rams had built up too much of a lead. That loss ended up slipping the Saints back into a tie for the NFC South lead with the Panthers. The Saints currently hold the tiebreaker, but the Panthers can take over.

This upcoming week, the Panthers will welcome the Saints into Bank of America Stadium and set up a huge home game between divisional foes.

With a victory over the Saints, the Panthers will clinch a playoff spot and take over sole possession of the NFC South lead. There are a couple of other ways that the Panthers can clinch a playoff berth though:

  • Carolina tie + Arizona loss
  • Carolina tie + San Francisco loss
  • Arizona loss + San Francisco loss

Should the Panthers win, they will need to win their final home game against the Atlanta Falcons to win the NFC South. Ending the season with a matching record with the Saints will result in New Orleans taking the division title.

If the Saints end up winning against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, they will not only clinch a playoff spot, but will also clinch the NFC South division and a first-round bye. It is next to impossible for the Saints to get home-field advantage over the Seattle Seahawks, but the slim chance is still there.

A lot would have to happen for the Panthers to not get into the playoffs at all, but again, the slim possibility is there.

Carolina really cannot look at this game with the Saints as one they can lose and still just coast into the playoffs. Losing their final two games could result in this great season ending with nothing to show for it.

Still, a win over the Saints could put the Panthers in a much more secure driver’s seat and en route to not only an NFC South title, but also a first-round bye in the playoffs. There is a lot on the line this week even though there is not a lot that can be locked down just yet.

All it’s going to take is a victory over an angry and embarrassed New Orleans Saints team…and that is no easy task.

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

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