Sunday, November 29, 2015

Panthers Rolling Snake Eyes

Panthers Beat the Cowboys
   The Carolina Panthers are on a much--deserved 'mini--bye" week, with ten days off  following their Thanksgiving Day massacre of the Dallas Cowboys.   But don't be surprised if our team is working harder than ever during this 'vacation'.   They seem to be resolved not to be satisfied until ALL of their team goals are met this season.   

    They are a perfect 11--0.   Although almost no one expected this kind of a season-- or record --so far, more and more people--- including professional sports analysts --- are getting on board the Panthers bandwagon.

 BEST CHANCE? _________________________________
Rolling Along
      Prior to the season's start, Carolina's odds were 50 to 1 to win the Super Bowl.  This week, the Panthers began to garner the respect they rightfully deserve as they took over the top spot from the New England Patriots.  Yes-- according to the oddsmakers, our team has the BEST chance to make it to the Big Game.

     A Falcons loss to the Vikings today will give the Panthers a playoff berth, and also make them the NFC South Champion for the third straight year.  We head down to face the Saints next weekend in a game that many would say means nothing.   But it is far from that to the Panthers.  From here on out, Carolina will be playing for homefield advantage, pride, and history.   Only two other teams have finished the regular season undefeated--- and only one--- the 1972 Dolphins-- finished the entire season unblemished.

    And while we're speaking of the Saints,  the Panthers have barely squeaked through a few of their past ten wins, just beating the Colts,  Seahawks and--- the Saints.    Last game, it was 27--22 at home in Charlotte.  This time, we play in front of 75,000 screaming Saints fans.   This trip to the Big Easy may not be all that easy as the Saints' Drew Brees is back from injury--- he was not playing in the previous game.

Will the Panthers Make It to the Super Bowl?

IMPOSSIBLE TO BEAT? ____________________________
   It's only been the past four games that Carolina has begun to show a more complete and balanced  team, with the offense beginning to pick up steam and carry its weight, along with a dominating defense that is in the Top Ten in all defensive categories.   The Panthers are third in the NFL in scoring, averaging over 30 points per game, while having the third--rated overall defense in the league, which give up only about 88 yards per game rushing, and 18 points..

   Over the last four games, the Panthers have outscored their opponents (Packers, Titans, Redskins, Cowboys) by 141--69, or an average of 35--17, a winning margin of 18 points per game.

Dominating Defense
    Certainly,  several Panthers can be singled out for their amazing plays against the Cowboys. Luke Kuechly's two interceptions.   His and Kurt Coleman's returns for touchdowns.  The consistent play of offensive players Jonathan Stewart and Cam Newton

    Media and sports outlets are always looking to praise individuals, and point the spotlight on how they have singlehandedly dominated a sport or led their team to a championship.  Cam Newton  is a prime candidate for the NFL MVP award this year, and is featured on the cover of the current Sports Illustrated magazine.   He definitely deserves the recognition, and the Panthers would probably not be undefeated without him, and several other star players.

    But the Big Story is the emergence of the Panthers team this year.  Not just the TALENT of the team.   Newton himself has remarked that the Panthers may NOT be the most talented team in the NFL, but they may be the BEST team.  Veteran Panthers players have remarked that they feel a different, more powerful dynamic among this year's locker room and players.

    We've had great teams before--- the 1996 NFC Champions, led by the legendary Sam Mills. The 2003 Super Bowl team, with Jake Delhomme and Steve Smith.   Both of these teams, as well as others, show promise to go down as some of the greatest Panthers teams in their brief but storied history.   But the 2015 version may surpass them all-- it's not just the undefeated season (so far), it's not just their dominance during the past few games.   It's more of the feel of this year's team.   

    They seem to have a unity and strength that is impossible to beat.   And-- so far-- it has been.  ______________________________________

Will the Panthers Make It to the Super Bowl?

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