For the fourth time in the last five seasons, the Panthers will close out the season against the division rival Saints, and the only thing on the line for either club is to finish on a positive note. Carolina desperately wants to surpass last year’s win total while New Orleans, disappointed that they will miss the postseason for the first time since 2008, is looking to go 8-8.
It was a day not fit for man nor beast, and that was just the yellow flags that were raining down on their heads. A plethora of personal fouls ruined an otherwise boring game but in the end the Carolina Panthers did something no one thought possible a few short weeks ago and that was matching last year’s win total.
The Panthers are playing the way many expected them to early in the season so one might say it is better late than never. If fans thought their team played a well rounded game against the Falcons last weekend, the whooping they put on the Chargers on Sunday was as good, if not better.
As a season winds down, you can always count on someone saying, “If the season ended today …..,” but in the Panthers’ case, it would be “If the season STARTED today …..,” as in six weeks ago. Over that span they are 3-3 and coming off a solid win against a division rival while Cam Newton is looking more like he did last year than in the first seven games of 2012.
So what if Cam Newton was the leading rusher – again? Who cares if special teams was a disaster – again? The Panthers did what they were supposed to and that was hand the Eagles their seventh straight loss and keep some hope alive to at least reach last year’s win total.
If the Panthers are to get their third win of the season this may be the weekend to do it even though they will be playing on the road. The Eagles are arguably the worst team in the league and things don’t get any better for them with two of their offensive stars sitting this one out.
In any other season it might have been a good game but when the Panthers and Eagles square off Monday night the only people that might be interested in turning on their televisions are those in the Philadelphia and Charlotte markets. That’s provided they haven’t already lost interest in their home teams.
There is a big difference in the Panthers’ defense that opened the season and what they look like now. While injuries have played a role in the roster shuffle, Greg Hardy has emerged as a threat to be one of the finest sack masters in the game.
The Carolina Panthers flashed back to a year ago to do something had not done in 2012 and that was put together a complete game from start to finish. The Washington Redskins were flat and Ron Rivera’s team took advantage at every opportunity to pick up just their second win in eight tries.
It was hard to believe the Panthers team that took the field on Sunday was 1-5 because they gave the Chicago Bears and their quarterback Jay Cutler fits throughout. But the Monsters of the Midway prevailed on a last second field goal which handed Carolina their fifth straight loss dropping them even further into the cellar of the NFC South Division.