The end is here and it could be the end of the line for a couple of head coaches and for a pair of quarterbacks. The Panthers and Saints go at it for the final time this year, and for fans watching, it could turn out to be an entertaining game.
The Panthers season comes down to this: They have one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel and the only way to get back on solid footing is to beat the Cowboys on Sunday. But Dallas is on notice from their owner to shape up or ship out and they need a win just to get back to the .500 mark.
After five weeks of the NFL season, the NFC South is not as competitive as many had expected and the Falcons have already opened up a 3.5 game lead. The Saints are still powerful enough to pull themselves out of an early season tailspin but for the Panthers and Buccaneers it might be, “Wait until next year.”
The Stunner in Seattle on Monday Night Football is just the latest in the sad saga that is the replacement referees, but what happens if their inability to control a game leads to an injury of a star quarterback like Matt Ryan or Cam Newton? It could happen, and the consequences are too frightening to imagine.
When the Panthers have an effective running game they are hard to beat, and they proved it against the Saints. DeAngelo Williams got his sidekick, Jonathan Stewart, back in the lineup and the duo combined for 120 of Carolina’s 219 yards on the ground helping QB Cam Newton knock off the New Orleans Saints to even their record at 1-1.
It’s hard to say it is a must-win game in Week 2 but for the Panthers and Saints, going 0-2 is not an option. Carolina may need it more because it would be two straight losses to a divisional foe. New Orleans simple needs a victory to take their minds off all the other distractions.
The Saints need a win, so do the Panthers but Carolina is at home and showed they may have a defense this year. New Orleans has Drew Brees but a lot of distractions including a somewhat embarrassing loss to the Redskins at home in the season opener.
Panthers quarterback Cam Newton usually has one thing on his mind – offense – but he reached out and patted his defense on the back. Head coach Ron Rivera doesn’t want to hear any revenge talk about the Saints running up the score in the final game of 2011 and simply told his team that if they don’t like it, do something about it.
Opening the season with three of four games against division rivals could be a good thing for the Panthers, even after suffering a tough loss to the Buccaneers in Week 1. That’s because the Saints are rip to be dethroned as NFC South champs because of Bounty Gate.
Earlier this summer Panthers center Ryan Kalil bought an ad in the paper stating that he thought the Panthers could make it to the Super Bowl. Obviously with Kalil doing his best Don Draper impersonation, this fired up the fans of the team with thoughts of returning to the big game almost a decade after the Panthers’ first appearance in a Super Bowl. Well, there is one way and one way only for Carolina to get Super Bowl bound, and that is to make the playoffs. So how do the Panthers make the playoffs?