Now that we’re into the meat of the Carolina Panthers bye week, we must turn our attention to an empty Sunday. There are three types of game this week that Panthers fans might have an interest in. The first features “good” football teams, for those fans who have forgotten what that looks like; the second type are games featuring divisional opponents, as the Panthers are laughably still alive in the race for the NFC South crown; the last type is the most depressing, as these are the games that can affect the Panthers draft order.
Your early slate of games is highlighted by two games between teams who might be good. The Detroit Lions host the Jacksonville Jaguars while the Minnesota Vikings host the New York Jets. The Jets and the Lions have been coming on in recent weeks, particularly the Jets who just last week benched problem quarterback (and future Carolina Panther) Zach Wilson to jumpstart their offense.
The afternoon features better games all around. The Washington Commanders at New York Giants should be fun, the Miami Dolphins at the San Francisco 49ers should be a legitimately good game, and the Kansas City Chiefs at the Cincinnati Bengals promises to be a preview of one potential the AFC Championship game.
It is legitimately silly that every team in the NFC South is reasonably, not just mathematically, alive in the division. The rest of the world has been waiting for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to run away with the title, but they are taking their sweet, sweet time with it. That has left a window of opportunity for hungry teams, like the Atlanta Falcons, and weird teams, like the Panthers and the New Orleans Saints.
For their part, the Panthers have a win over each team in the division and are only one win behind the Bucs (5-6) and the Falcons (5-7).
This week, the Falcons play the hapless Pittsburgh Steelers while the Bucs are hosting the Saints on Monday Night Football. This could be a big week in the NFC South that could well end with the three teams on top of the NFC South having five wins through 13 weeks.
We haven’t forgotten about those of you who are rooting for the tank and a higher draft pick. As we discussed yesterday, the Panthers currently need the Houston Texans, the Chicago Bears, the Los Angeles Rams, and the Denver Broncos to lose games in order to advance in the draft order.
The Texans won’t win enough games at this point for the Panthers to catch them. The Bears can win this week against a vulnerable Green Bay Packers team so long as Justin Fields (shoulder) plays, The Rams have a tough outing against the Seattle Seahawks, and the Broncos are gunning for the second overall pick with a likely loss to the Baltimore Ravens. In short, pull for the Rams to upset the Seahawks and the Bears to miraculously heal Fields by Sunday.
And now for the part that some of you have been waiting for, our actual picks for Week 13.
Thanks to a partnership between our friends over at Tallysight and the folks at DraftKings Sportsbook we can bring you a helpful widget* to keep track of the staff picks here at CSR for each game this season.