So I'm sitting here with my kids watching a cartoon movie and hoping the next four hours goes quickly. I've been waiting for this game for about six months. Though the Panthers face a 7-5 Patriots team a shade less than the dominant teams of the past decade this game is still huge for the Panthers.
One obvious impact it on the Panthers dismal playoff hopes. A win not only avoids elimination but it might bring much needed confidence to our young QB.
I win would be a big shot in the arm for HC John Fox. We've speculated since the 0-3 start whether HC John Fox would survive a sub.500 season. We should have our answer this offseason. The Panthers have never went into a season with a HC in the final year of his contract. If Fox is going to stay then Richardson would typically offer an extension this winter. But why should he?
Will the Panthers, Fox make a deal? - CharlotteObserver.com
After eight years together, Richardson must decide whether he wants to move forward with Fox as his coach and, if so, whether he's comfortable with Fox going into next season in what could be perceived as a "lameduck" position.
Would it really be such a bad thing. Maybe it would motivate the players to kick ass for their 'lame duck' coach, or does that only happen in college?
So does Fox really have much to be worried about? After all the conventional wisdom is that Fox would be unemployed about as long as it takes to hop on a plane. There is that pesky 5-7 record at the three-quarter mark which might have the Big Cat ruffled.
I'm not going to delve into too many stats but the 22nd ranked offense is hard to overlook even with the 3rd ranked rushing attack. A 13th ranked defense is improving but still needs a signature win for 2009...
FS Charles Godfrey returned to the line-up last week and got his first pick of 2009 (2nd of his career). With Randy Moss of the menu this week I'm thinking I would rather see the taller Sherrod Martin the game. The Patriots will surely launch a few a deep balls and Martin seems better at judging ball trajectory. This is wishful thinking though as Fox seems to prefer the 2nd year guy over the rookie.
Not much has been said about RB Jonathan Stewart's first start of the season. Stewart showed good speed and the ability to bounce it outside. 120 yards and a TD is a good afternoon for any RB and I for one would not flinch a bit if we had to use Stewart as our #1 any day.
Big Game Watch
My money is on Steve Smith. He is due for a big game and I'm the Patriots secondary struggles has him pumped. How many times do you think Moore and Smith practices the deep ball this week? Thirty or forty at least I hope. They will almost certainly run the smoke play too. Cold weather breeds missed tackles and all it takes is one for Smitty to take it to the house.