Originally written September 11, 2013 on The Football Fan Spot:
I’m not changing the Panthers as my pick to go from out of the playoffs to a first round bye after they played tough a Seahawks team that could easily win the Super Bowl. Their defense looked as dominant as I expected, particularly the front 7, even further fortified by the addition of Star Lotulelei. However, their offense didn’t look good, even against a tough Seattle defense. The Panthers admit their game plan was too conservative and it really was as they frequently eschewed 4th and 1 chances and just 6 of Newton’s 23 attempts went 10+ yards downfield. That’s not even close to how you best utilize Cam Newton. I’ll give them another chance and I like how the coaching staff admitted their mistake, but if they don’t live up to their talent, it’ll be because of the Ron Rivera/Mike Shula combination. That would leave the door open for the Saints or Lions to go from the playoffs to a first round bye. All of the NFC teams are going to beat up on each other and 11 wins could get you a f...
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