It’s that time of year, folks, where the Carolina Panthers and their interim head coach have the opportunity to do one of the funniest things in all of football. It is truly a tradition like no other.
Thanks to playing in the All-Time Losingest Division in the NFL—the NFC South—the Panthers regularly enjoy a potential path to the playoffs with a losing record. This year is no different. The 1-10 Carolina Panthers are only 4.5 games behind the NFC South leading Atlanta Falcons, 4.5 games behind the second place New Orleans Saints, and three games behind the third place Tampa Bay Buccaneers with 6 games left to play.
The Panthers are 4.5 games behind the Falcons and Saints because of head-to-head losses to each of those teams. They are an even three games behind the Bucs because they have yet to play. Indeed, four of the Panthers six remaining games are divisional games which makes their path to the playoffs all the more possible.
First of all, is this going to happen? Absolutely not.
But can it happen? Mathematically, yes.
The Panthers remaining schedule:
Basically, the Panthers can’t lose more than one of these games and they have to win every divisional game. The Falcons and the Saints can’t win more than one more game. If either of them win a single additional game then the Panthers essentially have to win out to win the division.
There are technically some tie break scenarios if everyone ends with even records overall, in the division, and head-to-head, but we’re not going to break those down unless we get into the unlikely scenario in which the Panthers have won any games.
Chris Tabor has his work cut out for him, but he has one advantage that Steve Wilks didn’t have last season: no first round pick in 2024 for fans to complain about ruining.
Again, we find it highly unlikely that the Panthers will be able to entertain these scenarios by Monday, let alone January. But it is quite hilarious that we can have this conversation, even for a day, for a second consecutive season