Saturday, October 17, 2015


    As I look forward to Sunday's game with the Seattle Seahawks, I was surprised to find an interesting (and surprising) statistic about this year's Panthers team.


   The Panthers have scored 108 points, and given up 71, over four games.  The most surprising stat is that the Panthers defense LEADS the LEAGUE in points allowed, giving up just 17.75 points per game.  Although I already thought the Panthers defense was playing well, I did not know they were playing THAT well.   Fact is-- the Panthers "D" has been keeping the team in the game, until the offense revs up and finishes games off.  And in some cases, the Panthers defense has actually -won- games for us.  In particular, I'm referring to turnovers, and specifically two interception returns for touchdowns by CB Josh Norman.

   I'm also a little surprised that we are 4-0-- not shocked, but surprised.  Before any of you Panthers fan jump on me for being less than loyal, I believe we are good enough to be undefeated.  But in some cases... just good enough.  you've probably heard that any team can beat any other team on any given day.  And a couple of the Panthers' wins could have gone the other way, if it were not for a few opportunistic plays just at the right time.

   Our offense needs to catch up with our defense.  The Panthers will always be a defense oriented team.   This goes all the way back to LB Sam Mills and the "Keep on Pounding" theme.   On offense, I'm wondering if the Panthers receivers can make up for the loss of WR Kelvin Benjamin (out with an ACL knee injury) this year.  I certainly hope so.  I really want to believe they can.  But I'm not sure.   They really need to step up if we are to continue this streak and be effective later in the year.

   The time of the season that I've been talking about ever since before the season began has finally come.  This will be the supreme test.   Can the Panthers conceivably be 8--0 after the NEXT four games?   Probably not.   Only in a fairy tale "and-they-lived-happily-ever-after" scenario.   If they do, I will be all-in for a Panthers Super Bowl run, similar to the 1996 and 2003 Panthers. But even if our team is 7-1 or 6-2 on Nov. 9, I will be a proud, happy camper.  If they end up  5-3 (or -God forbid- 4-4), they we may be facing some severe problems during the second half of the season.

   Twp positive notes about returning players :  this game will be highlighted by the much anticipated return of defensive leader LB Luke Kuechly, who has been sidelined three games with a concussion.   At the end of this four-game stretch, the Panthers are projected to have star defensive player DE Charles Johnson back after a severe hamstring injury that has sidelined him since the first game.   That will significantly improve an already superb Panthers defense.

   NFL Network anal-ysts Phil Simms and Michael Irvin unanimously picked the Seahawks to give the Panthers their first defeat of the season.  I sincerely hope they eat those words. I've been watching the Panthers TV shows and following their website, and the players seem both confident and unified in their desire to end the Seahawks domination of their team.  Seattle is 7-2 since 2000 (including an NFC Championship game and last year's divisional playoff), and has won five games in a row since 2010.  It is time for a change. We will all find out whether that change will come on Sunday.

While you're HERE, look Right and participate in my Panthers' Poll
Predict the final Panthers regular season Record
I predict an 11-5 Panthers Season and 3-Peat as NFC South Champions

4:25 EDT on FOXSports

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