The Carolina Panthers and the New York Jets haven’t exactly been on the same level for the 2013 NFL season. While Carolina has broken through as a legitimate playoff threat, one of the league’s best defenses, and one of the biggest surprises of the year, the Jets have disappointed at just about every turn and sat below .500 at 6-7 as they traveled to Charlotte to face the Panthers.
The Panthers obviously were the favorites in this contest and rightfully so. Pitting Carolina’s defense against almost any team in the league is a matchup that works in their favor, but pitting the Panthers’ D against the bumbling Jets’ offense and rookie Geno Smith is almost unfair.
However, as the Panthers were coming off of just their fourth loss of the season after they were blown out by the New Orleans Saints in primetime in week 14, at least some of their focus had to be on their rematch with the Saints in week 16 in Charlotte. As a result, their contest with the Jets had the makings of a possible let down game for Carolina as they could have been looking ahead.
However, the Panthers came out and weathered a relatively ugly game. The Panthers’ offense was decent and their defense, though they allowed 20 points, was solid and added an interception return for a touchdown to a 30-20 win for the Panthers.
With the win, the Panthers move to 10-4 on the season. Picking up a win over New York actually proved to be huge for Carolina as well with the Saints falling to the St. Louis Rams on Sunday to also move to 10-4. Subsequently, the matchup between New Orleans and Carolina will likely determine the winner of the NFC South.
Now that the Panthers are able to look ahead to week 16, they have to be looking at the Saints’ recent trouble on the road and with playing outdoors and salivating a bit. If the Panthers come out and play defense at the level that they are capable of and the Saints play even close to as poorly as they have in their last two games away from home, Carolina could be looking at a division title.