The Panthers start with a MNF match-up against the 6-2 Eagles who will be without their starting QB Nick Foles who just broke his collarbone. Bad luck for Foles and the Eagles but good luck for the struggling Panthers. If they should manage to steal a victory there then they have a home contest against the 2-6 Falcons followed by a Bye in week 12. They then travel to play the 4-5 Vikings and rookie QB Teddy Bridgewater in Minnesota before traveling to play the Saints for the NFC South crown (hopefully). I can only pray the Panthers do their part over these next three games.
The Saints have a tougher schedule between now and the week 14 rematch. They do play three straight home games but it's against the 49ers (4-4), Bengals (5-2-1) and Ravens (5-4). Then they travel to Pittsburgh to play the red hot Steelers (6-3) before coming home to defend their turf against the Panthers. All we need is for the Saints to lose two or more of those contests to open the door wide for the Panthers. Should the Saints win those games or lose only 1 then they will remain in the driver's seat.
Both teams have fairly weak match-ups the last three games, depending on how you feel about the 5-3 Browns the Panthers play in week 16. The Panthers play them and the Bucs at home and then at the Falcons. The Saints play at the Bears and then Falcons and at the Bucs There is a good chance the winner of the week 14 contest wins the division and claims the divisions only playoff spot. Does anybody really think two teams will emerge from the South?
For the Panthers to repeat as division champs though first off they have to play better. That starts with getting players healthy which they do expect, namely Byron Bell and Amini Silatolu. Both and S Thomas Decoud should return to practice later this week.
So there is still hope Panther fans and did watch this team turn it around quickly last season and beat some good teams we didn't expect to beat. We will need a repeat of that in 2014 real soon if they are to save their season.