Monday, December 21, 2009

Any Given Sunday

For Panthers fans, last night was the reason why they show up to every home game. You just never know what's going to unfold on the field. Not many gave Carolina a chance against Brett Favre, Adrian Peterson and the rest of the vaunted Minnesota Vikings... but that's why they play the game. Trailing by one the Panthers exploded for 20 4th quarter points and easily beat the Vikings 26-7.

It just proves, once again, that you never know in the NFL. A former colleague of mine used to say, "Nobody goes undefeated. Nobody goes winless in the NFL." And with apologies to the '72 Dolphins and '08 Lions, that's true. Carolina's win, while surprising, isn't all that shocking. To prove it, just look at the NFL schedule from week to week. Who expected the Bengals to beat the Steelers and Ravens not just once, but twice? Tampa Bay, winless at the time, shocked Green Bay in week 9? Nobody saw Tennesse's 0-6 start or Denver's 6-0 beginning. And what about Oakland? The Raiders were 2-7 after 9 games and have managed to win 3 of its last 5, beating Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and the Broncos. Plus the Lions not only won a game this year, they've won two.

What last night's win has fueled among Panthers fans is the feeling that this is how they should have been playing all year. For one night, at least, Carolina overcame the injuries that have plagued the defense. Matt Moore looked like the answer at quarterback and John Fox had the right game plan. The reality, the Panthers stand at 6-8 with two games to play. And even if they win both and finish the season at 8-8, it's likely they'll be changes this offseason in Panther-land. Just how much is hard to tell. For you see, as good season as Carolina had last year... you just never know what's going to happen from week-to-week, year-to-year in the NFL.

--Jason Brown

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