You have to give credit where credit is due. The Carolina Panthers are no doubt deserving of some credit after winning their sixth straight game of the 2013 season. It didn’t come easy against the New England Patriots on Monday Night Football, but now the Panthers sit at 7-3 and in great position to make the playoffs.
A few weeks back I wrote a piece about how you couldn’t yet buy the Panthers. At 5-3, they really hadn’t beaten anyone. But two weeks later, they’ve knocked off two playoff teams from a year ago. The San Francisco 49ers and Patriots aren’t just your average playoff teams, either. So at 7-3 and with how they’ve played over the past six weeks, you have to buy the Panthers.
There’s no doubt about it, this is a team that should make the playoffs. The Carolina defense is top notch (3rd in all of football) and the offense is more than serviceable with a dynamic playmaker at quarterback. If the Panthers didn’t have a player like Cam Newton at QB, it would be a different story. But he takes an offense that would be average at best with a regular dropback passer, and makes it into a unit you simply can’t take lightly.
The Panthers have made it through their first big test of 2013 with victories over the last two weeks. Now we’ll find out how good this team can really be over the final six weeks, as the Panthers have two showdowns with the NFC South leading New Orleans Saints. Obviously, those games will determine the winner of the division, but they’ll also show us how high the ceiling is for Carolina.