Panthers Schedule Review & Prediction: 4th Quarter

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The final quarter of any given season seems to be an effective measuring stick when it comes to evaluating which team becomes the eventual Super Bowl champion. It truly is all about getting hot at the end of the season and riding that wave of momentum into the playoffs where anything can happen. Maybe it’s too early to have any realistic idea or expectation of where the Panthers might finish the 2012 season, but that hasn't changed how confident I am about the overall direction of this team, which is obviously up. Just don’t be surprised if this season surpasses all of your wildest dreams. Join me after the jump for a final quarter review and prediction that will be both bold and beautiful.

Vs. AtlantaFalcons December 9, 1:00pm

The second game between the two teams with the closest proximity to one another in the NFC South should be entertaining as usual. Unfortunately, the Panthers were out of the playoffs at this point last season, but I don’t expect this to be the case by time this game comes around at the end of 2012. In fact, when the final quarter of the season begins, I believe the Panthers will not only be fighting for a wildcard playoff spot, but for a division title as well. With that being said, the Panthers will be 1-0 after their game with the Falcons and well on their way to earning a spot in the playoffs.

@ San Diego December 16, 4:05pm

This will be an interesting matchup to say the least. You’ll have two former assistant coaches(Rivera and Chud) trying to get the best of their previous boss(Turner), and a handful of Panthers(Tolbert, Ajirotutu, and Applewhite among others) who may have extra incentive to play well against their previous employer. This game is a tough call because of the long trip to the west coast. Of course, how could we forget the last time the Panthers took a trip out to San Diego to begin the 2008 season? The travel didn’t stop that team from beating the Chargers in dramatic fashion when Delhomme hit Rosario in the back of the endzone for the game-winning touchdown. I can’t imagine this game trumping one of the most exciting regular season wins in Panthers’ history, but you never know. Go ahead and chalk this up as another win. The Panthers head back east at 2-0 and ready to face another AFC west opponent.

Vs. OaklandRaiders December 23, 1:00pm

I actually think the Raiders have a good chance to win this division as long as Carson Palmer can regain some semblance of his former self. I will personally be very interested to see how much of a role Mike Goodson has by the time these two teams meet. If he gets any carries against the Panthers, I’m sure he will be doing his best to show them that they should have never traded him. As fans, we can only hope the Panthers will reap some sort of benefit of their own at the other end of that trade, and who knows, maybe by the time this game comes around, Bruce Campbell will have already established himself as a solid starter somewhere on our offensive line. Either way, the Panthers will continue to ride high by winning their final home game of the season. At 3-0, the Panthers will now be looking to finish the season with a possible season sweep of their most hated division opponent.

@ New Orleans Saints December 30, 1:00pm

If the division and/or the playoffs are on the line when this game goes down, it will almost certainly be played on Sunday night as a flex game. For me, pounding the Ain’t No Saints into oblivion for the second time during this season would be the ultimate payback for both the beat down we took from them in last years’ season finale and the bounty on Cam. Conventional wisdom tells you this will most certainly be the outcome. The Panthers finish their final quarter of the season undefeated, and will enter the 2012 playoffs as the number three seed after winning the NFC South. Finishing the season 13-3 sure is optimistic, but we can dream can't we?

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