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...

 

 

  • NFL: Chicago at Detroit

    Today at 12:30 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: Philadelphia at Dallas

    Today at 4:00 pm on FOX50

  • SEC: Arkansas at Missouri

    Tomorrow at 2:30 pm on WRAL-TV

  • HSFB: Football Friday with Tom Suiter

    Tomorrow at 11:35 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions

    Today at 12:30 pm on 99.9 The Fan

Scoreboard
Local
Final
UNC 66
BUT 74
Final
ECU 73
HAW 75
Final
DUKE 93
FUR 54
Final
CHA 97
POR 105
Final
NCSU 84
RICH 72
Final
FLA 1
CAR 0
7:00pm Tonight
UNC
UCLA
 
Final
PHI 91
BRK 99
Final
ORL 96
GSW 111
Final
CHA 97
POR 105
Final
CLE 113
WAS 87
Final
DET 98
LAC 104
Final
DAL 109
NYK 102
Final
ATL 115
TOR 126
Final
MIN 86
MIL 103
Final
HOU 102
SAC 89
Final
OKC 97
UTA 82
Final
SAN 106
IND 100
Final
PHO 120
DEN 112
Final
LAL 93
MEM 99
7:30pm Tonight
TEXAM
LSU
7:30pm Tonight
TEX
TCU
Final
UNC 66
BUT 74
Final
FRES 64
MAR 68
Final
CHAT 61
RMU 46
Final
EMICH 68
ROCH 35
 
Final
MRGST 51
LIB 50
 
Final
HAMP 60
AMER 64
 
Final
BEL 78
DEN 57
Final
UMASS 79
NE 54
Final
JMU 79
SHU 72
 
Final
KNST 84
SAMF 71
 
Final
ECU 73
HAW 75
Final
CHAM 60
MIZZ 74
Final
CCAR 61
LAMON 48
Final
OKLA 75
UCLA 65
Final
ELON 65
UNF 72
 
Final
UWMIL 66
ORU 69
Final
WCU 66
CHIST 61
Final
DUKE 93
FUR 54
Final
BYU 85
PURD 87
Final
EVAN 79
USF 72
Final
COL 71
GTDNS 75
 
Final
VERM 73
BRY 47
 
Final
OSU 91
CAMP 64
Final
LOU 45
CLST 33
Final
UCF 69
DAVID 95
Final
IONA 126
DELST 76
 
Final
OU 78
UGST 83
Final
TOWS 97
GOUCHER 43
 
Final
ND 81
GRAM 54
 
Final
YALE 82
LAF 60
 
Final
GWU 91
LONG 66
 
Final
VT 78
UMO 63
Final
WAKE 83
MNTER 49
 
Final
NAVY 67
PSUHARRIS 42
 
Final
NCSU 84
RICH 72
Final
MINN 61
STJ 70
Final
JVU 69
TRINBAPT 57
 
Final
YOUNG 66
UMKC 63
 
Final
UAB 43
WISC 72
Final
CORN 67
CAN 60
Final
WVU 103
VMI 72
Final
DEP 74
LEH 86
 
Final
UNT 67
MVSU 52
 
Final
MARS 68
MORE 77
Final
TCU 74
RAD 50
 
Final
SELA 86
TENT 65
 
Final
SMU 72
TXSOU 59
 
Final
UTAH 85
TXPA 48
Final
LMU 66
UCR 62
Final
SCAR 89
UNCA 75
 
Final
SD 86
WAYNEST 69
 
Final
PITT 70
KYST 47
Final
UWGB 59
FLGC 45
Final
IOWA 70
NILL 49
Final
ORST 69
AUB 71
Final
MONT 75
CARROLLMT 52
 
Final
SUTAH 64
EKENT 73
Final
NMST 78
FAM 33
 
Final
WYO 65
STET 41
 
Final
EWASH 81
NKENTUCKY 60
 
Final
IDST 57
WLVRN 60
 
Final
GEOR 66
UF 65
Final
GONZ 88
UGA 76
Final
NIOWA 61
NW 42
Final
CAL 72
CPSL 52
Final
UCD 77
UTST 70
Final
SDST 59
ARZ 61
Final
NDAK 75
ALAST 68
Final
CSNO 55
PORST 63
Final
AKAN 62
PAC 71
Final
OKST 73
TULSA 58
Final
COLST 76
MIZST 61
12:00pm Today
TENN
SCU
 
12:00pm Today
RMU
LAMON
 
1:00pm Today
BUT
OKLA
 
2:00pm Today
BRO
PEAY
 
2:00pm Today
UTEP
PRIN
 
2:30pm Today
CHAT
CCAR
 
2:30pm Today
RIU
KU
 
3:30pm Today
USCU
FIU
 
3:30pm Today
GEOR
WISC
 
4:00pm Today
USB
LIU
 
4:30pm Today
XAV
SDU
 
5:00pm Tonight
INDST
ILL
 
6:00pm Tonight
WRST
CSFU
 
6:00pm Tonight
STJOE
WKENT
 
6:30pm Tonight
RIDE
MSU
 
7:00pm Tonight
UNC
UCLA
 
8:30pm Tonight
WMICH
LBSU
 
8:30pm Tonight
GT
MARQ
 
9:00pm Tonight
PVU
STEPH
 
9:30pm Tonight
MERC
RICE
 
9:30pm Tonight
UF
UAB
 
11:00pm Tonight
WASH
SJST
 
11:59pm Tonight
MEM
BAY
 
11:59pm Tonight
UCSB
WASU
 
Final
NYI 3
WAS 2
Final
BUF 1
WIN 2
Final
FLA 1
CAR 0
Final
TAM 4
NYR 3
Final
DET 5
PHI 2
Final
PIT 4
TOR 3
Final
MIN 0
LOS 4
Final
COL 2
CHI 3
Final
SJS 0
CAL 2
8:00pm Tonight
NAS
EDM
 
12:30pm Today
DET
CHI
4:30pm Today
DAL
PHI
8:30pm Tonight
SFX
SEA