A few thoughts on Sunday's game:
** If you think these two teams have problems – well, this is nothing. Let me take you back to the Buffalo-Carolina game of 2001, which produced one of my favorite all-time quotes.
In 2001, these two teams met in a thoroughly forgettable game in Buffalo. Carolina was 1-11. Buffalo was 1-10.
The Panthers sped out to a 24-6 lead late in the second period behind quarterback Chris Weinke and a rookie wide receiver/kick returner named Steve Smith.
But Buffalo scored the game’s last 19 points to win 25-24 and help ensure that horrendous 1-15 record for the Panthers. Panther head coach George Seifert would be fired once the season concluded.
But Seifert was still coach at the time and he said right after blowing that 18-point lead: “The problem here is that we haven’t solved the problem. And it’s been an ongoing problem.” It sounded for a minute like Yogi Berra was coaching the Panthers and, in fact, he couldn't have done any worse.
** You think anyone will be watching No.89 for Carolina and No.81 for Buffalo Sunday?
Smith and Terrell Owens are both off to terrible starts (together, they have combined for 1 TD, which is T.O.’s). But I think both are going to see the ball more today. It’s Smith who has made the most noise this month. Owens has been very low-profile, for him, anyway, in Buffalo thus far. Smith wants to be considered an “asset” again. I bet the Panthers make sure he gets a catch within their first five offensive plays today.
** Although Smith certainly wants more touches, the Panthers would be nuts to veer far off the 48-run, 17-pass formula that got them a win last Sunday in Tampa Bay. Buffalo’s rush defense is worst in the league. The only way DeAngelo Williams doesn’t go for 100 yards today is if he gets hurt.
** My prediction: Carolina 29, Buffalo 20.
(The stats: So far this season, I am 4-1 picking Panthers' games this season, missing on the Dallas game. Before the season began, I picked Carolina to go 7-9. )