Pittsburgh and Carolina play so rarely in the regular season that the only game I really remember between the two games came in that starry year of 1996, when everything seemed new and possible for Carolina.
Remember that one? Kordell Stewart went 80 yards for a touchdown. Sir Purr dove into the end zone when a punt was still live and jumped on the ball. ESPN later replayed that leap and flashed a graphic that read: Sir Purr. Punt Returns: One. Yards: Zero.
Ultimately, a playoff-bound Carolina team would edge Pittsburgh, 18-14, at home when safety Chad Cota intercepted Stewart. I must have heard Bill Rosinski's call of that play 100 times: "Stewart back to throw, fires in the end zone. What is it? What is it? INTERCEPTED! The Panthers have it! The Panthers have it!"
Tonight won't be nearly as exciting, I'm afraid. The talent level will be too great for the Panthers to make up. I'm 11-3 picking Panther games this season -- I chose Carolina to beat Arizona last week. But this one won't turn out so nicely.
My prediction: Pittsburgh 30, Carolina 10