I’m perfectly willing to admit it when I’m wrong. I’m wrong a lot.
But so far, I don’t have to.
Back in the pre-season I predicted that the Panthers would go 5-11 and end up in last place in the NFC South. Well, they haven’t hit 5 wins. Yet.
I also predicted that Cam Newton would blow out his shoulder again. He hasn’t yet, but he did blow out his foot.
I also predicted that Will Grier would take over under center. He didn’t. Yet.
Well hello Kyle Allen. Where the hell did you come from?
Beginning the season, it looked like I might have overestimated the Panthers at 5-11. An 0-2 start and Cam went down. Then Kyle Allen showed up and steadily, if not with flash, led them on a current four game win streak. They’re currently sitting at 4-2 in the NFC South, just one game back of New Orleans.
Do they have what it takes to overtake the ‘Aints? No.
But they just might have enough in the tank to get a Wildcard. And here’s why.
Cam Newton reportedly will return after the bye week. And even if he goes down again (he probably will), Kyle Allen knows he can now play NFL ball and manage the offense.
McCaffrey continues to make folks miss when he gets touches, and so far has managed to not get brokeded.
Greg Olsen is back from injury giving an outlet valve when the decimated offensive line becomes even worse later, regardless of who is under center.
And last but certainly not least, the Panthers defense hasn’t always been stellar. But they’ve been good enough. 9th in scoring defense. 11th in total defense.
Oh, and I also had predicted that Ron Rivera would be canned by week 11. That’s looking very unlikely now, but we’ll see.
Maybe I was wrrrrroo….cough cough.
They haven’t hit the meat of the schedule just yet. Road games at San Fransisco, Green Bay and New Orleans loom large. As well as a home tilt with New Orleans to end the season. If they can manage to steal even one of those, and not stub their toes elsewhere (No pun intended Cam), then a Wildcard berth is very possible. But they’ll need to stay healthy-ish. And they’ll need to adjust back to Cam Newton under center. At least for as long as he stays healthy-ish.
Close, but not close enough.