Normally, I am a fairly "patriotic" person. I usually am silent, with my hand over my heart, during the playing of the National Anthem or the pledge of allegiance. I've always appreciated being an American citizen, and living in what I believe is the greatest country in the world.
This coming Monday, I may still display those actions, but I will be in a different mindset than usual. I will be feeling very "un-patriot-ic". I hope that the entire Carolina Panthers team will be feeling the same way : looking for any way to destroy and annihilate the New England Patriots.
The Panthers' recent game against the San Francisco 49'ers was nothing less than amazing. It was definitely a defensive struggle. Only one touchdown was scored. Four field goals. A one-point win. But one point was enough. I'm not sure that one point will do it against the Patriots on Monday night. QB Cam Newton was quoted as saying that the Panthers offense will need to score more than ten points to beat the Patriots with their high-powered offense.
Never say Never- the Carolina defense has been nothing less than sensational over the last few games. They have been the catalyst for the team's five-game winning streak, ranking 2nd in the NFL (out of 32 teams) both in PPG (points per game) allowed [12.8], and YPG (yards per game) allowed . The Panthers are only giving up an average 82 ypg on the ground.
So- who knows? It could be another low-scoring game. But don't count on it. I believe that this time out, the Panthers may need to put their offense in high gear to edge out Tom Brady's squad. So far, the Panthers have scored touchdowns over 60% of the time when inside the opponent's red zone. They will probably have to make good on that percentage this coming Monday to come out on top.
A reporter said before the 49'ers game that it was the most important game for the Panthers in five years. Now- we come to the NEXT-BIG-IMPORTANT game : the Patriots. And if the Panthers get by this one, then they face TWO MORE BIG, IMPORTANT games against their division foe New Orleans Saints. There are big stakes riding on these games. Stakes that none of us really believed would be there five games ago. Each game could seriously impact any playoff hopes for the Panthers.
Will Carolina be up to the challenge? Well- so far, so good.
[ note: The 49'ers could've helped us by beating the Saints on Sunday, (11/17) but ended up losing to them on a field goal in the closing seconds, 23-20. This makes Monday night's game even more crucial, as we need to win to stay within one game of the Saints. ]