Thursday, December 31, 2009

Panthers-Saints thoughts

Sunday will mark the end of the 2009 season for the Carolina Panthers, win, lose or draw. There will be no nail-biting moments of "what can they do to get into the playoffs," or anything like that. It's a football game, and then clear out your locker.

That in mind, I am going with the home team to win.

I have never been more impressed by an 8-win football team, than I am with the Panthers. This team may not have always looked its best on the field, but in the dressing room, they are a family. A real family. They play for each other. They play for their coach. They weather the storms as best they can, and had it not been for a dreadful start, they would be a playoff team. The margin of error is just so small.

As for the Saints, they have nothing to gain by playing their starters the distance. They are also on a 2-game losing streak. Based on those factors, I see the Saints trying to win the game in the first 3 quarters, then trying to hang on in the 4th. Carolina should win this game on that fact alone, but if the Saints are out to make a point to the rest of the NFC, then hanging on in the 4th won't be an issue. The statement will be loud and clear (if it comes), and will sound something like 4 or 5 Saints touchdowns.

I don't see that happening though, based on the Panthers defense of late. They are playing tremendous football. The hits, turnovers, pressure. Wow. I also want to applaud the play of Julius Peppers, especially over the final 10 games or so. Maybe it was the Jon Beason radio call-out of Peppers, but he has been a monster since. Still not convinced he has earned the dollar amount attached to his franchise tag status, but he's been pretty good in 2009.

Pro Bowl: Beason out of the Pro Bowl, and Saints LB Jonathan Vilma in? To borrow a phrase from ESPN, "c'mon, man!"

Props to Peppers and DeAngelo Williams for their selections. Deserving with the season's they have had. Hard to imagine Thomas Davis not being there, after the season he was having. Then again, the NFC probably would have left him off in favor of someone like Wilber Marshall. And Marshall is retired.

The off-season will bring its own kind of drama and news. Pardon me as I wait for it to roll around. For now, a Happy New Year to all, and we'll see you on Sports Night tonight at 10.

Mike Solarte


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

It will be great to watch Carolina Panthers, i have bought tickets from looking forward to it.