After a controversial, but still well-deserved win over the New England Patriots on Monday Night Football, the Carolina Panthers are looking like one of the NFL’s best teams. After a slow 1-3 start, the Panthers have now won six straight to gain a comfortable position in the NFC playoff race. If they can keep up their tremendous level of play from the past six weeks, Carolina has nothing to worry about — but if they slip up, they could miss their opportunity for the postseason.
The Panthers are leading the NFC Wild Card race as the only team with a 7-3 record, but three teams are right behind them at 6-4 and there are two more at 5-5. The NFC is extremely competitive this season with 10 of 16 teams currently at .500 or better. If Carolina cools down and a couple of other teams get hot, they may end up watching the playoffs.
Their remaining schedule is certainly no walk in the park either, with only two games remaining against losing teams. The Panthers still must face the New Orleans Saints twice and also have games against the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins — two unpredictable teams who can beat the best and lose to the worst.
With an underrated offense and a defense that allows the fewest points per game in the NFL, the Panthers are currently front-runners for a Wild Card spot and have a great shot at the NFC South at just one game behind the Saints. They are playing as well as anyone right now but can’t afford to get comfortable in such a crowded race. With so many teams in the running every game from here on out should have a playoff atmosphere, and Carolina must approach them as a do or die situation.