All aboard the Carolina Panthers‘ bandwagon. People are still jumping on at this very moment. I guess you can’t blame them. The Panthers have won four straight games and are now right behind the New Orleans Saints in the NFC South.
You have to give credit where credit is due. First and foremost, you have to give credit to Ron Rivera. Earlier in the season he was likely one bad loss away from losing his job. At the moment, you have to say that he’s in the coach of the year discussion.
Secondly, you have to give credit to Cam Newton. In his third year he’s showing us all that he’s evolving as an NFL quarterback. He’s completing passes at a career-high clip of 64.4 percent and he’s no doubt making great decisions on the football field.
There’s also no denying that the Panthers are one of the hottest teams in football.
But with all that being said, here’s why you can’t buy them as legitimate contenders in the NFC – their victories have come against teams with a combined total of eight wins. That’s right, five wins for the Panthers and they’ve all come against bad teams. I’m sorry, but this Panthers team is still deserving of the ‘pretenders’ label.
However, they have a chance to shed that label over the next two weeks. In week 10 they’ll travel West to take on the San Francisco 49ers and then in week 11 they’ll return home to face off against the New England Patriots. If Carolina can win one of those games, while being competitive in both, then I’ll believe.
Wins are no doubt wins and it’s clear the 2013 Panthers are above average, but to this point, that’s all you can call them. After week 11 we’ll know for sure if they’ve finally taken the next step.