Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Lose Sunday? No Super Bowl

OK, technically the above headline isn’t true for the Carolina Panthers.

If they lose at New Orleans Sunday, they would remain in the playoffs as the No.5 seed in the NFC. They could conceivably make one of those Football Tours Across America like the 2007 N.Y. Giants did, winning one road game after another (in Carolina’s case, the most likely scenario would be that they would have to win at Arizona, at Atlanta and at the New York Giants, in that order).

But you know what? I don’t think this Carolina team could do that. In fact, I’m sure of it. This team is not quite that hot. It’s not that good on the road (3-4 this season). The Panthers are just not ready to have to win three straight road games just to get to the Feb.1 Super Bowl in Tampa. Carolina might win one road game. Maybe even two. But not three. That road is like I-77 at 5 p.m. right after a tanker full of vegetables overturns.

So that’s why Sunday’s 1 p.m. game vs. New Orleans is HUGE for Carolina. Win that one, and you’re on a new stretch of I-485 at 5 a.m. No bumps. Little traffic. Unless you run out of gas or have major car trouble, you’ve got a great chance of getting there. Carolina would have a No.2 seed then and only have to win two playoff games – with at least the first one at home on either Jan.10 or 11 – to make the Super Bowl.

So I’m going to go ahead and call this one right now: If the Panthers win Sunday at New Orleans, all things are still possible. But.... if they lose Sunday? Yes, they’ll be a playoff team. But no, they won’t make the Super Bowl.

16 comments:

common sense said...

they could win sunday and still won't make it to the super bowl. The giants have too much momentum and depending on the wild card winner, I believe possibly dallas, philadelphia,or even arizona could beat them. Wishful thinking though!

Michael said...

God, you're TOTALLY right, guy! The Giants have SO much momentum having lost two of their last three games. And yeah! Who wouldn't expect an Arizona team that Carolina ALREADY beat and just lost by 40 to win in Charlotte? Dumbass.

common sense said...

It sounds like a passionate panthers fan. this is the playoffs huckleberry finn. Throw out the regular season. Your conservative play calling got you beat. A fifty yard chip shot? Good luck at new orleans next week but if you lose go drink away your sorrows at the hick bar

Michael said...

Well you're certainly right about that. The Panthers, who have a QB and a head coach who rank among ALL TIME NFL leaders in playoff winning percentage are REALLY likely to lose against, say Arizona with all their playoff experience (oh, wait, they haven't been since 1998) and the Cowboys, who haven't won a freaking playoff GAME in 4,378 days. Plus, Philadelphia? Oh, that's right, we went up there and smacked them in the mouth the last time they saw us in the playoffs. Seems like you're the one who's at the hick bar.

pantherzone said...

Well said, Michael. Mr. "Common Sense" has no common sense. Or football sense for that matter. The Giants don't impress me- they' re beatable after what we showed them. The Cowboys- got stuffed at home by the Ravens. Philly- lost to the Deadskins. Arizona- they just plain suck right now. I think the Panthers are playing better ball them all of them.

CatFish said...

Common sense, huh? In the words of John McEnroe "you cannot be serious!!!!!!!!!" Dallas, Philly, and Arizona have more momentum than Carolina?! Do you even watch football? Dallas and Philly are two of the most inconsistent teams in the league. And Arizona? Possibly the worst playoff team, not to mention worst division champion, in the history of the NFL. If not for playing in the worst division in the league they would have 4 maybe 5 wins at best. Do your homework and then comeback to this blog. Nothing like an uneducated person trying to look smart. You may have "book sense" but you definitely don't have "common sense".

Michael Bacon said...

Ignoring the trolls for a moment (the ones under the New Jersey bridges are particularly ugly, you know), as I'm looking at the schedule, I'm not so sure that the #2 spot isn't the better place to be. Yes, it would have been nice to have the week off in New Orleans to rest up, but if we win, we get a bye week anyway, and too much rest could be a momentum killer. But anyway...

Looking at the most likely matchups, we know that Arizona is likely the #4 seed, and it looks like pretty good bet that the Vikings are the #3. If Atlanta manages to beat a showing-up-for-the-paycheck St. Louis team Sunday, they're the #5 (if we win, of course). That leaves the #6 slot for the Cowboys or the Bucs.

Now, if Atlanta goes to Phoenix, I think we all know what's going to happen. The Falcons are playing great football right now, and Arizona, well, is not. That's a road playoff win you can probably pencil in right now. Minnesota is not a great team, but I see them beating whichever #6 seed shows up to play.

If that plays out, we get the Vikings and the Giants get the Falcons. I'd much rather have the road ahead look like Minnesota then the Atlanta/NY winner.

The way I see it, there are only three teams in this thing with a chance to make noise. Us, New York, and Atlanta. In the #2 seed, we don't see either of the others until the NFC championship game.

(Of course, we still have to win Sunday or it's all moot.)

Felicia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matt said...

Regarding the Giants game, the Giants didn't so much win that game as the Panthers lost it. It's sounds like a cliche to say we would have won that game had it not been for the missed field goal, but it's the truth - and I feel awful for John Kasay. It easily could have gone the other way.

The Panthers got what I consider to be a quality road win at Green Bay (not an easy place to win) and we nearly took one from the Giants in their house. A win at New Orleans would nicely send the Panthers into the playoffs, as long as there's no hangover from the Giants loss (and Drew Brees doesn't single-handedly pick apart our secondary).

David said...

John Madden said it best when he commented that The Giants -Carolina classic was a fabulous game and he didn't want to see anybody lose because the teams are that close in ability.The game exceeded everyone's expectations.

I hope we get the Giants again and Kasay wins it with no time on the clock.Then we'll go beat the Steelers in Tampa and pay them back for some beatings they have put on us in recent years.

The team that gets hot and stays healthy wins the Super Bowl. We are hot and I like our chances.

Don't let us down defense!

DK

Danman said...

common sense is just common, no sense involved. You always get the cowchoke fans on these blogs. Hopeless and desperate for all these 12 years of no playoffs. The Giants will not beat us again, nor will Atlanta. However, Atlanta and Charlotte are the 2 best NFC teams in the playoffs. Colts and Titans are the AFC best. That will be the final four. So common idiot, you won't even be in the playoffs, much less the final four.

Doug said...

I agree with Matt. The Panthers beat themselves. John Kasay is not to blame. I seem to be in a minority. I do not blame the coaching staff for Sunday's loss. I also believe the Giants are overrated. I fault our defense. Poor open field tackling and secondary players out of position have been issues all season. I read somewhere that the Panthers simplified the defense this season. It may be oversimplified.

Simon said...

I predict the giants to lose first round of the playoffs, they're team needs plexico burress like no other, it would be like the panthers playing without our beloved smitty. Yes they beat the panthers last week, but what we must see is they are not the playoff team that they were before the shooting, just like Tampa is not the same team since Kiffin announced he's going to work with his son. On that note, the panthers if they win first round at home, would have the nfc championship at home. Keep your fingers crossed panthers fans.

Matt said...

Simon, I've been having the same gut feelings myself - I don't know that the Giants can run through the playoffs and make it back to the big game. Before the Panthers let the game go into overtime and handed the Giants a win with a bow tie on it, the Giants lost two in a row. I wouldn't factor in the Plexico Burress circus too much, I think their struggles are more a sum of their injuries - although Brandon Jacobs' return seemed to give them a bit of a spark (granted, Ward's running hurt the Panthers more than Jacobs did). A early playoff exit by the Giants wouldn't hurt the Panthers at all, that's for sure.

common sense said...

I'm not a cowboy fan, giants fan since teenager by the way. You panther fans are very optimistic and confident. You may beat the saints but and get the giants again. But lose and you will say at least we made the playoffs.

Michael said...

Simon, the falloff in the Bucs D has less to do with Kiffin's departure than it does with several injuries along their defensive line (Haye, G. Adams, G. White.)