Could the Carolina Panthers make a run at a possible wildcard spot in this year’s postseason?
The question seems far-fetched with the Panthers sitting at 2-6 after their first eight games, but believe it or not the team is actually positioned for a playoff run.
First, the Panthers could easily be sitting at 7-1 right now. Aside from their week three let down to the New York Giants, Carolina has been in every game all the way down to the end. Their inability to close has plagued them throughout 2012, but both sides of the football appear to be coming together now after poor execution on both offense and defense early on.
However, despite the poor execution through the first couple of weeks, Carolina still managed to play somewhat competitive football by keeping games tight and giving themselves a chance.
Throw in a solid win on the road in week nine against the Washington Redskins and the Panthers might have the ball rolling in the right direction.
Second, Carolina’s schedule sets up nicely for a second half run. Their biggest hurdle though starts this weekend at home against the Denver Broncos.
If the Panthers can come together and bring down a very beatable Broncos squad then look for this team to go wide open the rest of the year with teams like the Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders, and the struggling Philadelphia Eagles on their schedule.
If the Panthers win out their final eight games they would finish 10-6, easily earning a wildcard birth. Though, Carolina could probably afford to give-up one loss in their final eight games giving them a record of 9-7, which at this point would more than likely sneak them into the postseason.
Of course it’s a long shot, but anything can happen in professional sports. Their schedule sits in their favor and they are beginning to play good football all around. These final eight games should be fun and at least give Panthers fans something to believe in.
Robert Kester, Carolina Panthers Columnist. Contact @robertkester1