Carolina Panthers: Loss To New Orleans Saints Could Hinder Playoff Chances

The Carolina Panthers are in a dogfight and not just in the NFC South. With their loss to the New Orleans Saints, the Panthers dropped to 8-4 on the season. Yes, it’s better than most but looking ahead, the loss could be as big as the one Alabama had against the Auburn Tigers two weeks ago. The Panthers entered the game tied with the New Orleans Saints for the best record in the South and now they find themselves in the middle of the pack.

The issue for the Panthers is how long can Cam Newton keep the heroics up? With the trade of Kelvin Benjamin, the Panthers are a bit thin on the wide receiver side of things. While their ground game is starting to pick up a little steam, someone else has to step up. Greg Olson missed another game but he can’t afford to sit anymore out.

The Panthers will head to back to Charlotte to take on the Minnesota Vikings then the Packers and finish the season against two South rivals in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Falcons. Out of the four games left, there is a strong possibility that the Panthers my split, leaving them with a record of 10-6. If that’s the case, this loss was bigger than just a division lead.

Can The Panthers Hold Off The Frey

The Vikings have pretty much punched their ticket, however, they cannot afford to take the Panthers lightly. While Newton is struggling, he’s still good enough to put this team on his back as he has done many times with their backs against the wall. This is what separates the Panthers apart from the Saints, Vikings, and the Rams. The Panthers have been here before, and while the other teams, although good this season, are just scratching the surface. The Saints have veteran leadership in Drew Bress, however, the majority of the Panthers have been to the Super Bowl and know what it takes to win 15 games in a season.

Right now, it’s about survival with the season winding down. The Panthers cannot afford to take any team for granted and that includes the struggling Bucs. One more loss and before the Panthers know it, they could very well be the ones chasing the Seahawks and the Falcons. Breathing room is good but business still must be handled. The Saints have managed to sweep the Panthers this season so a division title out might be out of reach.

Coach Ron Rivera will need to call on his captains to right the ship before it’s too late.

 

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