Like the New Orleans Saints, the Carolina Panthers enter their contest against the Denver Broncos a better team than their record probably indicates.
The 2-6 Panthers have been capable of a lot more wins. In fact, in four of their losses, the Panthers have lost by five points or less. They lost to the 8-0 Atlanta Falcons by just two points in week 4, and to the 7-1 Chicago Bears by only 1 point in week 8.
“You watch our last five games, and obviously we won the last one, but before that we lost the previous ones and it comes down to a couple of plays,” Panthers head coach Ron Rivera said. “They made a couple plays, we didn’t make a couple plays. We had an opportunity to make plays, we didn’t make those plays.”
Those are the things that come with a young football team.
“You got opportunities to score down in the red zone, instead of kicking field goals, you’ve got to score touchdowns,” Rivera said. “Defense, you’ve got a team down in the red zone, you’ve got to force the field goals. Third down was a problem for us on both sides of the ball, and then missed opportunities in terms of dropped interceptions or we fumble the ball here or there. Those are the things that obviously as we continue to grow and become a much more mature football team, those things that we’ve got to take care of, we can’t allow those things to happen.”
When the Broncos have won, they’ve done so by an average of 16.4 points. With that said, if the Broncos are playing well, they likely won’t let the Panthers creep around in the game at the end.