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Running The Table: The Panthers’ Quest For Perfection

Jarrett Bailey, Sports Writer

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At the end of Week 14, the Panthers are a perfect 13-0, and with the season winding down, everyone is asking the always popular question when a team reaches this point; Can they go 19-0? I say yes. The Panthers remaining opponents (Giants, Falcons, Bucs) all have 6-7 records. The biggest test of those three games will be against the Giants at the Meadowlands. Although the G-Men don’t have the greatest record, they are 7th in the NFL in scoring. That being said, their defense is 20th in points against (24.6 PPG), which Cam and company will thrive on with their league-leading 31.6 PPG. The Falcons were just shut out by the Panthers last week 38-0, so I don’t see them being too much of a problem. The Bucs, however, have had a surprisingly decent season with rookie Jameis Winston at the helm and are making a late push, but the Panthers are just too much for them, in my book. The thing with Carolina is that they aren’t just winning, they’re winning with style. In their previous 6 games, they have posted scores of 37,27,44, 33,41, and 38, all while getting big plays from superstars like Cam Newton and Luke Kuechly, and surprising help from guys who have stepped up like Jericho Cotchery, Ted Ginn, and Greg Olsen in the absence of Kelvin Benjamin. When the passing game isn’t working, veteran Jonathan Stewart looks like the Jonathan Stewart of 6 years ago, rushing for 989 yards and 6 TDs, which is a big part of the number 1 ranked rushing offense in the NFL. Along with the NFL’s top offense, the Panthers defense is among the best in the game as well. Kuechly is looking like the defensive player of the year with 86 tackles and 4 interceptions, but there are some un-sung heroes on this defense. Alongside Kuechly is Thomas Davis, who leads the team with 88 tackles. In the secondary, Kurt Coleman has played the role of ball hawk, snagging 7 interceptions, good for 2nd in the league. This team has surprised everyone this season, all with the help of superstars making superhuman efforts, and small name guys stepping up and making big time plays. That being said, the season is yet to be over, and the Panthers’ quest for perfection is far from over, as well.

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