banner
Joe Ovies

Panthers showing playoff potential

Posted October 25, 2013

Carolina's 31-13 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Thursday night put the Panthers above .500 for the first time since 2008. That's a span of 71 games in which the franchise trudged wearily through quarterback changes, draft mistakes, various incarnations of the coaching staff and a switch in general manager.

Folks who hadn't checked out on the Panthers altogether were clamoring for more change as recently as four weeks ago. Who could blame them, considering Carolina was losing games in the same brutal fashion from the previous two years? Head coach Ron Rivera dealt with reports that the front office in Charlotte was vetting possible replacements, and quarterback Cam Newton was a sports talk radio piñata.

Amazing what a three-game winning streak in the NFL can do for the general discourse surrounding a team. Playoffs? Actual possibility. Newton is blasting Drake in his headphones, and nobody would blame him if he told folks asking to get back on the bandwagon "no new friends." Rivera looks like an extra in "Last Vegas," where old dudes are throwing caution to the wind to prove they still got it.

Teams are what their record says they are, and at 4-3, the Panthers aren't suddenly Super Bowl sleepers because they've reeled off wins against teams with a combined 5-22 record. The important takeaway is that Carolina is doing what its supposed to be doing against the dregs of the league and putting themselves in position for a playoff spot.

Carolina has a defense sitting near the top of most statistical categories, and they haven't given up a first-half touchdown through eight weeks of the season. The Panthers' offense is finally taking advantage of the defensive starts, utilizing their running game to open up the rest of the play-calling and converting in the red zone. 

Newton continued his run of mistake-free football on Thursday with 221 passing yards on 23-of-32 passing and two touchdowns. He added 50 yards and another touchdown on the ground. Newton took three sacks, but he was 11-for-15 for 84 yards against five or more pass-rushers.

In the last three games, Newton has a 130.3 passer rating. He's completed 58-of-75 attempts and thrown for 667 yards in that stretch, tossing six touchdowns and punching in two on his own. 

Rewind to the first half against Arizona, when Steve Smith dropped a touchdown pass and Brandon LaFell couldn't hold on to a fourth down conversion, marring an otherwise snappy effort out of Newton. Had the Panthers put numbers on the board instead of balls on the ground, we could be discussing a five-game win streak instead of the three that just gave them a winning record.

Carolina faces an unimpressive Atlanta Falcons squad that has come crashing back to Earth after last season's run next. They'll see the disastrous Tampa Bay Buccaneers again and host the wildly inconsistent New York Jets. They also have a winnable game against the Miami Dolphins, who don't have an offensive line to protect Ryan Tannehill.

Congratulations, Panthers. You're back to being interesting.

26 Comments

This blogpost is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • HopingForABetterWorld Oct 25, 5:28 p.m.

    PLAYOFF POTENTIAL? Their four wins have come against teams with a combined record of 5 and 24 if my math is correct? And at least one of the victories for those teams was against another one of them.

  • Obamacare is here Oct 25, 3:12 p.m.

    dia-beetus, also known as "the beetis" is infact not a unique strain of marijuana, but rather the reference to Wilford Brimley's bumblef*ck speech impediment, and inability to pronounce the word diabetes. After Wilford Brimley's day-view on liberty medical commercials, "the beetis" spread like an std in a bro-infested frat house over the continental United States. Dia-beetus quickly became a youtube sensation, providing such hits as "rock me diabeetus" and "the funky diabeetus". The Billy Mays of yesteryear, Wilford Brimley's walrus like mustache and comforting hand motions will forever live on in the commercial brakes of late night television, and more importantly in the hearts of the American people.

  • 75Tarheel Oct 25, 2:25 p.m.

    Panthers gonna win it all!!!!! And hope that Cam does the Superman thing all the time!!!! Just... View More

    — Posted by taskmaster27858

    It's great to have an optimistic poster. But you need just a touch of realism to go along with it. Hoping it will happen doesn't make it happen.

    They could win the Division IF they can split with the Saints. They probably won't beat the other Division leaders though. And they could easily lose 3 of the next 5. As they could December's schedule. BUT if they can go 6-3 for the remainder of the season getting into the playoffs (and into 2nd round) would be a great first step to building a great team in the next few years and keeping it that way.

  • jonstewartrules Oct 25, 2:05 p.m.

    "Playoff POTENTIAL" here folks. The author was expressing the idea that at this stage of the game, there is a POTENTIAL for a Playoff spot, based upon some relatively easy games left on the schedule. Not THAT hard to comprehend???? That and the fact that having played one of the BEST teams in the NFL and kept them to a 12 point game (even in a loss), their defense IS capable of preventing a high-scoring game from a top notch opponent. With 4 more games that Carolina is fully capable of winning, that would give them no less than an 8-8 season, which in the past has been good enough to get some teams in the Wild Card spots. And this year, that could certainly be a possibility. With just one or two quality wins in addition, Carolina would be in a good position to secure a playoff spot regardless. So there is the POTENTIAL for a playoff possibility. Nothing more, and the author never claimed otherwise. There is of course the POTENTIAL for a complete collapse as well. Please, READ and COMPREHEND.

  • taskmaster27858 Oct 25, 1:31 p.m.

    Panthers gonna win it all!!!!! And hope that Cam does the Superman thing all the time!!!! Just too pi ss all of yall losers off!!! hahaha

  • rushbot Oct 25, 1:10 p.m.

    let us see..they beat the 0-7 bucs..whose power ranking is 31st out of 32..who have scored 100... View More

    — Posted by rushbot

    Duly noted. And a playoff potential? It's way too early for that kind of talk. But you have to... View More

    — Posted by 75Tarheel

    it is am important step..i'm still not convinced that newton is all that and a bag of chips..he... View More

    — Posted by rushbot

    Are you and N.C. State Fan?

    — Posted by NCheatStateU

    nope..i have no dog in the fights out here in the acc..i grad out west in the rocky mountains before i went off to defend everyone's way of life against all enemies, foreign and domestic.. ..i root for all of the teams in the state, including cullowheeeeee...i must confess i am a fan of duke b ball..my heart doc is the head of the transplant program there, so i sort of kind of like that school..i am a russell wilson fan..i like his attitude!!!

  • Go Lee County Oct 25, 12:58 p.m.

    how can one brag about the D being so good when the teams they play suck???

  • Xanroc Oct 25, 12:53 p.m.

    OK, so the Punksters can beat the worst teams in the league, but does that make them into payoff contenders, I don't think so. Cam the Scam can find his primary receiver and if he is open, he can get the ball to him. If the primary receiver is covered, he either holds the ball too long or he runs. Secondary receivers are nothing more than down field blockers, because Cam the Scam doesn't know where they are going to be and can't find them. Under Cam, they have never come from behind to win a game or even won a close game in the fourth quarter. Geno Smith has done both with less talent six games in his rookie season.

  • Coach C Oct 25, 12:36 p.m.

    let us see..they beat the 0-7 bucs..whose power ranking is 31st out of 32..who have scored 100... View More

    — Posted by rushbot

    too bad we couldn't play the Jags to make it a clean sweep of da seller!

  • NCheatStateU Oct 25, 12:31 p.m.

    let us see..they beat the 0-7 bucs..whose power ranking is 31st out of 32..who have scored 100... View More

    — Posted by rushbot

    Duly noted. And a playoff potential? It's way too early for that kind of talk. But you have to... View More

    — Posted by 75Tarheel

    it is am important step..i'm still not convinced that newton is all that and a bag of chips..he... View More

    — Posted by rushbot

    Are you and N.C. State Fan?

More...

 

 

  • ACC: Virginia Tech at Wake Forest

    Today at 12:25 pm on WRAL-TV

  • SEC: Ole Miss at Arkansas

    Today at 3:30 pm on WRAL-TV

  • BIG 12: Oklahoma State at Baylor

    Tonight at 7:30 on FOX50

  • The Logan Zone

    Tomorrow at 11:30 am on WRAL-TV

  • CBB: Appalachian State at Virginia Tech

    Today at 1:00 pm on 99.9 HD3 The Ticket

  • CFB: Wisconsin at Iowa

    Today at 3:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

  • NHL: Hurricanes at Colorado

    Tonight at 9:00 on 99.9 The Fan

  • CBB: Duke vs. Stanford/UCLA

    Tonight at 9:30 on 620am

Scoreboard
Local
Final
CHA 100
ORL 105
Final
DUKE 74
TEMPL 54
2:00pm Today
NCCU
NCA
 
2:00pm Today
DAVID
UNC
 
3:30pm Today
ECU
TULA
9:00pm Tonight
COL
CAR
 
9:30pm Tonight
DUKE
STAN
 
Final
CHA 100
ORL 105
Final
PHI 96
PHO 122
Final
ATL 99
DET 89
Final
TOR 124
MIL 83
Final
MEM 117
BOS 100
Final
OKC 92
BRK 94
Final
WAS 91
CLE 78
Final
MIN 92
SAN 121
Final
DAL 140
LAL 106
Final
DEN 117
NOP 97
Final
POR 105
CHI 87
Final
GSW 101
UTA 88
7:00pm Tonight
ORL
MIA
 
7:00pm Tonight
IND
PHO
 
7:30pm Tonight
NYK
PHI
 
7:30pm Tonight
CLE
TOR
 
8:00pm Tonight
HOU
DAL
 
8:00pm Tonight
MIN
SAC
 
8:30pm Tonight
SAN
BRK
 
8:30pm Tonight
MIL
WAS
 
9:00pm Tonight
UTA
NOP
 
1:00pm Friday
BUF 0
KSU 0
Final
RICE 31
UTEP 13
Final
SDST 30
AFA 14
Final
UTST 41
SJST 7
12:00pm Today
UGA
CHSO
12:00pm Today
UF
EKU
12:00pm Today
OSU
IND
12:00pm Today
OKLA
KU
12:00pm Today
UAB
MARS
12:00pm Today
NEB
MINN
12:00pm Today
PURD
NW
12:00pm Today
ILL
PSU
12:00pm Today
MSU
RUTG
12:00pm Today
UCF
SMU
12:00pm Today
SCAR
SALABAMA
12:00pm Today
WKENT
TXSANANTO
12:30pm Today
WAKE
VT
1:00pm Today
ODU
LATU
1:00pm Today
ARST
WASU
1:00pm Today
CMICH
WMICH
1:30pm Today
COLST
NMU
2:00pm Today
LALAF
APPST
2:00pm Today
BST
EMICH
3:00pm Today
HOU
TULSA
3:30pm Today
UTAH
ARZ
3:30pm Today
FSU
BC
3:30pm Today
UNT
FIU
3:30pm Today
CLEM
GASTATE
3:30pm Today
ND
LOU
3:30pm Today
MICH
MD
3:30pm Today
ARK
MISS
3:30pm Today
PITT
SYR
3:30pm Today
ISU
TTU
3:30pm Today
ECU
TULA
3:30pm Today
IOWA
WISC
4:00pm Today
MEM
SFLA
4:00pm Today
CAL
STAN
4:00pm Today
NMST
LAMON
4:00pm Today
ALA
WCAR
4:30pm Today
OREG
COL
7:00pm Tonight
MTST
FATL
7:00pm Tonight
UVA
MIAMI
7:00pm Tonight
AUB
SAMF
7:30pm Tonight
TENN
MIZZ
7:30pm Tonight
BAY
OKST
7:30pm Tonight
MSST
VANDY
8:00pm Tonight
UCONN
CIN
8:00pm Tonight
UCLA
USC
10:15pm Tonight
WYO
BSU
10:30pm Tonight
NEV
FRES
10:30pm Tonight
WASH
ORST
11:00pm Tonight
HAW
UNLV
Final
COC 50
TEXAM 59
Final
DREX 70
USC 72
Final
GWEBB 72
CLEM 70
Final
MIAMI 79
AKR 51
Final
UCONN 75
DAY 64
Final
NEV 60
SHU 68
Final
LONG 81
UNCG 79
Final
ARKPB 46
VALPO 59
 
Final
WVU 70
BC 66
Final
TOWS 58
CCST 49
Final
YALE 70
ILLCH 58
Final
IOWA 63
SYR 66
Final
HAMP 82
ALCOR 69
 
Final
ODU 70
LSU 61
Final
KENT 89
BU 65
Final
SCAR 63
CHAR 65
Final
UVA 59
GWU 42
Final
WCU 72
HIWASSEE 53
 
Final
GT 78
MAST 69
Final
RIDE 78
LEH 74
 
Final
MSU 87
LOYC 52
Final
CMICH 76
MAINE 48
 
7:00pm Friday
BUF 0
MNTST 0
 
Final
BAY 60
PVU 45
 
Final
HOF 66
USB 65
 
Final
OREG 78
TOL 68
Final
UGA 82
TROY 60
Final
STAN 89
UNLV 60
Final
FAIR 36
WOFF 54
Final
EMICH 71
YOUNG 62
Final
MON 73
COOK 50
Final
FIU 74
FLMEM 48
 
Final
KSU 74
SILL 51
Final
CAL 55
TEX 71
Final
GMAS 58
NMU 69
Final
ILL 107
PEAY 66
Final
ARK 99
DELST 71
 
Final
MCNST 85
JCHR 70
 
Final
NDST 68
KNST 55
 
Final
OKST 82
UWMIL 68
Final
LATU 73
MORE 64
Final
SDKST 74
NDAK 72
Final
XAV 81
STEPH 63
 
Final
UF 61
LAMON 56
Final
WAKE 81
IONA 85
Final
GRCN 64
FAM 49
 
Final
COLST 80
UGST 70
Final
WASU 80
IDST 68
Final
WEBER 64
ILLST 73
Final
AUB 105
LALAF 80
Final
LOU 85
MARS 67
Final
ORST 55
ORU 42
Final
SD 85
SHSU 93
Final
UTAH 88
UCR 42
Final
DUKE 74
TEMPL 54
Final
CORN 71
PSU 72
Final
CPSL 78
DEL 60
Final
SEAT 48
WASH 63
 
Final
LBSU 69
KYST 60
Final
AMER 63
PBY 38
Final
HAW 74
PITT 70
11:00am Today
PRIN
INCWORD
 
12:00pm Today
UMASS
ND
 
12:00pm Today
GEOR
RMU
 
12:30pm Today
LAS
PETE
 
1:00pm Today
VT
APP
 
1:00pm Today
IUPUI
BST
 
1:00pm Today
WMICH
DRAK
 
1:00pm Today
RICH
HIGH
 
1:00pm Today
MSST
UTST
 
2:00pm Today
CAMP
COL
 
2:00pm Today
DAVID
UNC
 
2:00pm Today
NIOWA
UNF
 
2:00pm Today
CSNO
SAMF
 
2:00pm Today
YALE
MLOWELL
 
2:30pm Today
NEV
CLEM
 
2:30pm Today
PROV
FSU
 
2:30pm Today
MARQ
NEOM
 
3:00pm Today
DET
SALA
 
3:00pm Today
TXSA
TXST
 
3:05pm Today
CHIST
TRINCHRIS
 
3:30pm Today
UMO
LIB
 
4:00pm Today
BONA
CAN
 
4:00pm Today
SAV
CLST
 
4:00pm Today
NW
ELON
 
4:00pm Today
RFLSH
MDES
 
4:00pm Today
CARK
SEMIZ
 
4:00pm Today
AFA
WSCO
 
4:30pm Today
YOUNG
LONG
 
4:30pm Today
MTST
SOUTH
 
4:30pm Today
ARKLR
UMKC
 
5:00pm Tonight
ABCHRIST
DUQ
 
5:00pm Tonight
WEBER
LSU
 
5:00pm Tonight
BUT
GHND
 
5:00pm Tonight
CSFU
SJST
 
5:00pm Tonight
WOFF
SD
 
5:00pm Tonight
NORST
TXSOU
 
5:00pm Tonight
COOK
TOWS
 
5:00pm Tonight
SILL
YALE
 
5:30pm Tonight
KNST
ALCOR
 
5:30pm Tonight
MAN
BING
 
5:30pm Tonight
JVST
MILES
 
5:30pm Tonight
CSOU
WRST
 
6:00pm Tonight
CITA
BOBJONES
 
6:00pm Tonight
INDST
BRO
 
6:00pm Tonight
WYO
COL
 
6:00pm Tonight
GSOUT
FCCOL
 
6:00pm Tonight
CCAR
PIED
 
7:00pm Tonight
LATU
AMER
 
7:00pm Tonight
MAR
ARMY
 
7:00pm Tonight
TENT
CHAT
 
7:00pm Tonight
EKENT
CLERMONT
 
7:00pm Tonight
SMU
EWASH
 
7:00pm Tonight
NIAG
HART
 
7:00pm Tonight
PENN
LAF
 
7:00pm Tonight
UCSB
MASTERS
 
7:00pm Tonight
BUCK
MNTER
 
7:00pm Tonight
VMI
UNCW
 
7:00pm Tonight
RIU
NEB
 
7:00pm Tonight
NKENTUCKY
OHMWSTRN
 
7:00pm Tonight
GTDNS
QUIN
 
7:00pm Tonight
FAIR
SHSU
 
7:00pm Tonight
EMICH
UNCG
 
7:00pm Tonight
ETST
UNCA
 
7:00pm Tonight
TEMPL
UNLV
 
7:00pm Tonight
STJOE
VERM
 
7:30pm Tonight
MON
CCST
 
7:30pm Tonight
KSU
ILLCH
 
7:30pm Tonight
LIP
TRANSYLVAN
 
7:30pm Tonight
FUR
UCD
 
8:00pm Tonight
WKENT
BEL
 
8:00pm Tonight
NDST
HAMP
 
8:00pm Tonight
IND
LAM
 
8:00pm Tonight
TTU
MIZST
 
8:00pm Tonight
HOU
MRGST
 
8:00pm Tonight
NAVY
NE
 
8:00pm Tonight
ALAAM
OAKW
 
8:00pm Tonight
WILL
SELA
 
8:00pm Tonight
TULA
SONO
 
8:00pm Tonight
TXPA
A
 
8:00pm Tonight
RICE
WMARY
 
8:30pm Tonight
TXARL
HOUB
 
8:30pm Tonight
MINN
UMBC
 
9:00pm Tonight
UTEP
NMST
 
9:00pm Tonight
GONZ
STTHOM
 
9:00pm Tonight
SUTAH
WLVRN
 
9:30pm Tonight
PBY
MORE
 
9:30pm Tonight
DUKE
STAN
 
10:00pm Tonight
WISC
BSU
 
10:00pm Tonight
PORT
SIUE
 
Final
CLB 3
BOS 4
Final
PIT 4
NYI 5
7:00pm Friday
BUF 0
NYR 0
 
Final
EDM 0
NJD 2
3:00pm Today
OTT
STL
 
7:00pm Tonight
WAS
BUF
 
7:00pm Tonight
PHI
CLB
 
7:00pm Tonight
TOR
DET
 
7:00pm Tonight
TAM
MIN
 
7:00pm Tonight
BOS
MON
 
7:00pm Tonight
NYI
PIT
 
8:00pm Tonight
NAS
FLA
 
8:00pm Tonight
DAL
LOS
 
9:00pm Tonight
COL
CAR
 
10:00pm Tonight
EDM
CHI
 
10:00pm Tonight
CAL
NJD
 
10:30pm Tonight
SJS
ARI
 
2:00pm Today
NCCU
NCA