The Carolina Panthers are 9-3 and hoping to be playing for the lead in the NFC South Sunday night when they take on the New Orleans Saints. It’s somewhat crazy to believe it’s even a possibility after the Panthers began the season 1-3. However, eight straight wins certainly has everyone believing.
There is no question a big reason for the success that Carolina is enjoying this season is due to the struggles of previous years. The Panthers have combined for just 15 wins over the past three seasons. Quarterback Cam Newton has struggled mightily at times as the team had a hard time with their offensive identity. The good news is that appears to be behind them, however, the players have no intentions of wiping those hardships from their memory.
“All the work we put in, the blood and sweat and tears … trying to figure out how to win, was for this,” defensive end Greg Hardy said, according to ESPN. “We’ve had this talent for years. We just didn’t have the ‘want to.’ Now it’s there.”
There is no denying that Carolina’s defense had shown signs of greatness on those losing teams. In fact, there were plenty of reasons to question why the Panthers’ record was as bad as it was at times considering how well the team would perform. Obviously, football fans everywhere are witnessing exactly what happens when a talented roster can pull it all together and work as one.
It’s hard to say if the Panthers are the real deal. Eight-straight wins is definitely no joke. However, I think the showdown in New Orleans will truly show what Carolina is fully capable of this season.