Momentum is a very valuable thing in sports. It’s valuable in the short term, allowing a basketball team to go on a 16-1 run and win the game, and also in the long-term, with a football team taking a win streak into the playoffs and reaching the championship game. Momentum infects the players, the coaching staff, and especially the fans, reaching new heights of decibel overload or falling deathly silent. It can be the difference between success and failure, or between holding on to a close lead or collapsing in fourth quarter.
Momentum is fickle though, and it can switch sides in span of a play. The Denver Broncos know all about the effects of a momentum shift, giving a 24 point halftime lead to the New England Patriots after dominating them in the first half. Momentum must be carefully maintained, and while sometimes it can feel like walking on eggshells, the effort given to maintenance is more than worth it. The Carolina Panthers came into Week 13 having the most momentum in the NFL, reeling off seven straight wins, and they sought to continue it against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They maintained their momentum, which will serve them well in the coming weeks.
As the Panthers continue to gain momentum, their division rival New Orleans Saints seem to be faltering, losing in devastating fashion to the Seattle Seahawks. The Saints and Panthers face off in Week 14, with each team going in opposite directions. The teams are now tied atop the NFC South standings, the Panthers chasing the Saints up the standings. Carolina is lucky to have the momentum they have, along with the negative momentum of New Orleans, because they will need that emotional edge to come out of the Superdome alive. It won’t be an easy task, but the Panthers have the edge needed to take down the Saints at home.