Listen to the C3 Podcast on Stitcher

Cat Chronicles is a fan focused website dedicated to discussion concerning the Carolina Panthers. This is an opinion and entertainment site only, which is in no way affiliated with the Carolina Panthers, the NFL, or any sports player or organization. This site is by fans for fans, so please join in the discussionbecause without you football is just a kid's game.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Carolina Panthers: Week 13 Preview

The Panthers welcome the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to Bank of America Stadium in what should be a hard fought division game. The Panthers need this win to stay in the hunt for the NFC South division crown. These teams met back in week 8 with Carolina running away with a 31-13 win, but that Tampa team was much different from the one Carolina will face on Sunday.

That team was in shambles. The franchise quarterback had been released, injuries had decimated the lineup, and there were rumors that head coach Greg Schiano had lost the locker room. All that aside, there is talent on this roster and these last few weeks have shown just how good this team can be. Carolina should not underestimate the Bucs.

The catalyst for the offense has been the emergence of rookie quarterback Mike Glennon. He has been on fire during this three game win streak, he has completed a scalding hot 69% of his passes for 617 yards and he has thrown 5 touchdowns! This kid is playing very well right now.

Defense has loads of talent. For whatever reason they have not played well this season, but they are beginning to come together. The defensive line is led by Gerald McCoy, who over the current three game win streak, has contributed 10 tackles to go along with 4 sacks. The linebacker corps is talented as well with weak side linebacker, Lavonte David, doing his part with 18 tackles, 1 forced fumble, and 1 interception during the same three game win streak. These players have led to the resurgence of the Bucs defense and should continue to perform well as the season ends.

Carolina will need to run the ball to win this game. Over the past couple of weeks the Panthers have not run the ball well other than Cam Newton. DeAngelo Williams may be out for this game so look for Mike Tolbert and Jonathan Stewart to split the workload. The offensive line will have it’s work cut out for it as they try to protect Cam from the Tampa Pass rush. The offensive line has looked vulnerable these past couple of games, I hope they get it together for Cam’s sake. There is a chance All Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis will miss the game, if so, Steve Smith should have a much easier time getting open.

Defensively Carolina will try to stick to the same formula which started this 7 game win streak. Stuff the run, and get after the quarterback. This formula has not worked so well as of late. New England rushed for 107 yards and threw for another 297, while Miami passed for 310 yards. The defense will be shorthanded with Charles Johnson sidelined with a knee injury. I thought it was evident last week how much Johnson was missed. The defensive line was ineffective at getting to quarterback Ryan Tannehill and he abused the Panthers secondary. If the line experiences the same sort of ineptitude, Glennon and Vincent Jackson will have the same sort of success had by Tannehill and receiver Mike Wallace. Carolina may have to blitz their linebackers more to pressure Glennon. This will result in more man to man coverage, which does leave the Panthers susceptible to the big play.  Defensive coordinator Sean McDermott will need to be very creative in disguising the coverage and making it hard for Glennon to make the correct read on passing downs.

I see this game being much closer than what we saw back in week 8. Carolina is hot right now but so is Tampa Bay. This has all the makings of a classic NFC South battle. I see Carolina winning this one 27-20.

Follow us on Twitter @Cat_Chronicles\


Thursday, November 28, 2013

Panther Fan Tweet of the Week--Cast Your Vote!

Cat Chronicles is a website created by fans, for fans, who are dedicated to following the Carolina Panthers. The @Cat_Chronicles brand originated from fan discussion and input, so it is our mission to feature Panther fans because without you, football is just a kids game.  Each week, we will select our favorite tweets related to the Carolina Panthers and fans will vote for Cat Chronicle's Tweet of the Week! Cast your vote now;  It’s up to you!

Joe’s Pick:

This is my nominee for Cat Chronicles tweet of the week because it accurately states what many of us already knew. Cam Newton is elite. Look at his stats from this year and nothing really jumps out at you, but if you look at where elite quarterbacks excel, you’ll see that Cam is right up there with them. Third down conversions, red zone, end of 1st half/end of game is when Cam has been at his best this year. Cam is protecting possessions better and he is pressuring defenses by running from the pocket when defenses go into man coverage. This tweet just plainly states what Panthers fan already knew, Cam is elite. And in other breaking news, water is wet.

Tony’s pick:

Again, Steve "Sure-Hands" Smith showed when we needed him most--4 down in the 4th quarter.  Again, Tedd "Stone Hands" Ginn struggled to reign in the pigskin. Ginn has had problems throughout his career with catching, particularly the deep ball.  His inconsistency as a receiver led both Miami and San Francisco to part ways with the special teams assassin before he arrived in Carolina.  As our Cat Chronicles Joe Riollano recently commented, maybe Cam should try kicking Ginn the ball.

Ginn, extend those alligator arms and catch those deep balls!  I like this guy, don’t get me wrong.  He has single handedly resuscitated Panther special teams.  Imagine though how dynamic our offense would be if he could stretch the field consistently.

Who's Tweet Reigns Supreme?

Featured Tweets:

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Cat Chronicles Broadcast: Look towards Buccaneers and Back @ Dolphins

Cat Chronicles tonight is "Breaking Down the Box" against the Fins. The guys discusses the slow start in Miami, team character, emergent superstar Cam Newton, the matchup against the Bucs, Panther playoff futures, and much more.  Join in.  Comment.  Build the #panthernation.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Hoping for Hardy to Stumble, Should I be Ashamed?

Yea I said it!  Don’t act like it hasn’t crossed your mind since Charles “Big $$” Johnson went down against the Patriots. Greg Hardy is in a contract year, and playing like it!  The Kraken goes into Miami with 6 sacks and a forced fumble. The worst thing for the Panthers would be for Hardy to “come alive” against the Dolphins.  What?!?!?! That doesn’t make any sense.  Carolina needs to defeat Miami to solidify their legitimacy. Well, they will need to do it with a mediocre performance from Greg Hardy if they are smart.  Hardy needs to stay in Carolina for their for this season’s magic to become long-term.

Hardy has blossomed over the past two seasons alongside “Big $$.”  Registering 11 sacks in 2012 and  6 sacks in 10 games in 2013, Hardy looks to command legitimate money in free agency.  If Hardy blows up against Miami and then against Tampa Bay, he may just become too expensive for Gettleman’s Panthers. Losing Hardy to free agency would be devastating.  Gettleman invested a lot in Carolina’s defensive line this year.  While it has paid off, Carolina will look to improve the offensive line, receiver core, and secondary in the 2014 draft.  Add to this Newton, who will need to resign his contract next year hopefully, Hardy could become a cap casualty.  Making 1.3 million this year, Hardy will look to move up the ladder towards more elite pass rushing figures.  

Greg Hardy was never a sure bet. Drafted in the 6th round in 2010, his raw physical talent has always shown promise.  2012, however, was Hardy’s coming out party as a pass rusher, registering 11 sacks.  Still, “Big $$” had a lot to do with Hardy’s success. Hardy benefited greatly from rushing opposite from one of the league's best pass rushers, Charles Johnson, throughout his career.

Johnson suffered a MCL sprain from a dirty play in the Patriots game last week.  With “Big $$” sitting out against the Fins, the Panthers are already looking for Hardy to assume the role as premier pass rusher.  

I hope he is off his game in Miami.  

Yea that’s right! Call me crazy, but I love my Panthers enough to think about the long game. If the Panthers could just win through different means than Hardy, whether it be Kuechly flying around on defense or Newton airing it out on offense, the Panthers will benefit from a quiet Sunday from Hardy. If Hardy goes off while Johnson is out, he may just catch the eye of a GM who is interested in making a big impact signing next year.  The Panthers need Hardy to stay!

Having Hardy, Johnson, Lotulelei, and Short would make a 2014 defensive line where the oldest member was 27.  Back this up with with Kuechly, the best linebacker in football, and you have a defensive core that could be dominate for the next 5 years.

I do feel a bit ashamed for hoping that Hardy stumbles in the next few weeks. I selfishly want him to be drowned out by a magical playoff run that overshadows his importance in Carolina’s success.  Many often describe Charles Johnson as the most unsung Panther, well let’s hope Hardy ducks into the shadows while “Big $$” is gone.  

Keeping Hardy is paramount to Carolina’s future success.  He was that diamond in the ruff that every GM hopes to find late in the draft.  Let’s just hope that the Panthers find enough success this year to warrant spending the money to keep these brutes together.  I’m sure a Super Bowl championship would make it easier on Gettleman in luring these guys back to Charlotte for the next few years.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Carolina Panthers Control the Center in Playoff Chess Match

I’m not much of a chess player. To be honest, I haven’t even played that much.  In the little I have played,though, I’ve recognized two helpful concepts—one strategic and the other stylistic. First, chess masters commonly promote the strategic importance of controlling the board’s center.  Securing the center promotes a reactive defensive style that frees offensive lanes for attack.  Simply put, it is a sound defensive strategy that is offensively opportunistic. Second, mastering a style allows players to develop a signature identity. Experienced players come to understand their signature identity’s inherent strengths and weaknesses over time.  Advanced players further learn to recognize beyond the chessboard by also earning about themselves — they become comfortable and confident.

Ron Rivera’s Panthers are successfully applying these concepts in their run to the playoffs.  
Controlling the center with the league’s best front seven, Carolina’s defense bought time for Carolina’s offensive to mature, creating a signature team identity of power defense that creates offensive opportunism.  

Controlling the Center:

It’s clear that Carolina’s strength originates from their defensive dominance. The key to this dominance is the Panthers’ center—the NFL’s best front seven.

This front seven is plain scary, punishing opposing offenses by stymieing the run game and persistently pressuring quarterbacks. Directed by the league’s best linebacker core (Luke Kuechly & +Thomas Davis) and anchored by newly added hog mollies (Star Lotulelei & Kwan Short), Carolina has opened attack lanes for one of the league’s best pass rushes (Charles Johnson & Greg Hardy).

Panther GM, Dave Gettleman, announced this strategy clearly in the 2013 NFL draft, grabbing consecutive DTs in the first two rounds.  This proved a wise decision.  Instantly,  Lotulelei, Short, and veteran Dwan Edwards have plugged rushing lanes, propelling the Panthers’ rushing defense from #14 in 2012 to #3 in 2013 overall.

This strengthened center also Improved LB and DE play.  Luke Kuechly is playing like the league’s best LB, supported by Thomas Davis who has reemerged as premier OLB.  This tandem has played so well that Carolina dealt Jon Beason to the Giants for a conditional draft pick, and defensive production has only improved. Beason’s immediate impact  in New York shows he still has gas in the tank. It’s simply insane to think that the Panther LBs can be playing like the league’s best without Beason. Kuechly and Davis have gotten it done, though, both making strong Pro-Bowl bids.  

Carolina’s pass rush is equally intimidating. Charles “Big $$” Johnson earns his paper each week, and Greg Hardy is playing like he wants Big $$’s nickname.

It seems as if these two explode off the edge on every play, while the big hog mollies attack the center.  Both Star and Short have added to the Panthers defensive versatility tremendously .  

Carolina’s strategy of controlling the center has bought time for the offensive to mature, allowing the team to develop a signature identity.

Defensive Stats
Panther Ranking (NFL Overall )
Points Allowed per game
Yards Per Game
Passing (YPG)

Developing a Signature Style:

After a 1-3 start that should have been 3-1, winning bewildered Rivera’s Panthers. In his 3rd year, Rivera’s Panthers had always played competitively, but never seemed to put everything together and simply win. The 1-3 season starting Rivera had become a byword for squandered opportunities.

Well we have learned a lot about Rivera’s Panthers since then.  They were not what we thought they were—they are even better!

This team is tough. Powered by that big front seven, Carolina has developed its signature style—power defense that creates offensive opportunism.  

How did we do it?

Rivera and His staff-

Ron Rivera- Give credit to Ron “Coolio” Rivera.  His cool demeanor finally paid off, as Carolina’s defense has developed the toughness reminiscent of his past with the ‘85 Bears.  While everyone has been fascinated with the “Riverboat Ron” phenomenon, Rivera has matured into an impressive head coach. Rivera in many eyes is a strong contender for coach of the year.

Shawn McDermott- Some Panther fans are already speculating that Carolina’s defensive success will land McDermott a head coaching spot.  I don’t see this, but it does highlight an important change in Charlotte over the last two seasons. Carolina’s defense struggled early last season, and a lot of the blame fell on McDermott.  But wisely, Rivera stuck with the former Eagle coordinator.  Despite the rocky start last year, the Panthers defense has been impressive for the last 18 games. Gettleman brought in some important pieces in 2013 with Star, K. Short, Quintin Mikell, and Mike Mitchell.  McDermott has made the most of it too!  Just last year, McDermott was on the hot seat and now fans are afraid he will leave.  

Mike Shula- In another example of Rivera’s coolness translating into wisdom, Shula is working out as offensive coordinator.  After Chudzinski left, the Panthers promoted Shula from within rather than looking for a big name to revive the offense.  Despite the learning curve, Shula has developed as a coordinator and play caller.  Watching Shula’s maturation has been nerve-racking for many fans, but Carolina’s performance against the Patriots relieved some of that angst.  In the last 7 weeks, Shula has developed the pieces available to create sound Panther offense.  

Cam Entertainment-

Newton has been sensational.  Over the last three years, Cam Newton has matured significantly as a quarterback and leader. Newton has demonstrated significantly improved pocket presence and passing efficiencies.  While Shula’s offense asks less of Newton in the rushing game, there have been sightings of SuperCam breaking 25 yd runs.  We are witnessing the development of the “NEW-ton” NFL quarterback.  Big, strong, and freakishly athletic, Cam Newton is simply entertaining. More frightening, he is becoming an effective passer.  Newton continues to progress, looking past his 1st and 2nd reads, tucking the ball when required, and airing it out when available.  The most telling sign of his progress can be seen in his improved 3rd down efficiency.  Currently, Carolina is #3 in 3rd down conversions.  Last, year the Panthers finished ranked #12.

Newton’s development, however, can also be seen is his demeanor.  Newton looks serious on the field, poised in the pocket, and mesmerizing on the run.  Newton simply looks comfortable both on the field and off.  Cam has given us some pretty painful post-game press conferences in the past.  This year he has been charismatic, mature, accountable, and confident in post game press conferences.  Newton’s teammates continue to attest to his leadership and character.  Carolina invested in the face of a franchise, and it looks like the Panthers are receiving the dividends.

Carolina’s entry to the playoffs is not guaranteed by any means. Rivera’s Panthers are well positioned though. Only one game back, the division or a wild card spot would not be surprising.  Although checkmate is a distant thought, it is possible. The Panthers defensive identity may just position the Panthers’ opportunistic offense for a deep playoff run.  Checkmates often come out of nowhere!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Cat Chronicles: Panthers Defeat Patriots, Felonious Flags, & Look to Miami

Cat Chronicles tonight is "Breaking Down the Box" against the Patriots.  The guys discuss the felonious flags, emergent superstar Cam Newton, Panther playoff futures, and much more.  Join in.  Comment.  Build the #panthernation.

 Show starts @9:30

Could Winning Out be Bad for the Panthers?

It has been an incredible six weeks for Panther fans. We have been on an emotional high--one I don’t want to end. For the past five years, Panther fans have been wanting something to cheer for, something to get behind, and now we have it. Can it last though? Is this a “magical”season? Will the ride last beyond this season? After what seems like an eternity of cellar dwelling, Carolina is in the spotlight. I want to ride this dragon as long as possible.

I secretly think a loss would be good for the Panthers.  THERE I SAID IT.  I know it sounds preposterous, unnatural even.  I can’t deny it  though.  The stench of the last 12-4 Panther team that crumbled to the Arizona Cardinals in 2008-9 still lingers, making me weary of a Panther team that rides too high into the playoffs.

As division champs, the Carolina Panthers cruised into the 2008 playoffs with a 12-4 record as a #2 seed. Coming off a first round bye, the Panthers welcomed the #4 seed Arizona Cardinals to Charlotte in what many thought (myself included) a game Carolina should win. Carolina had beaten Arizona earlier in week eight.  Despite Kurt Warner’s 381 passing yard, 2 TDs  performance, despite Larry Fitzgerald’s 116 yards receiving, Carolina still squeaked out a 27-24 win. Carolina countered Arizona’s potent performance with standout performances from Jake Delhomme (248 yds, 2 TDs) and Steve Smith ( 5 rec,117 yds, 2 TDs). DeAngelo Williams also joined in the offensive party, rushing for 108 yards and TD. It was a good win for Carolina.  It was a tough win though that could have easily gone the other way. Both Cardinals turnovers came in the Panthers red zone, and in the end it took a 4th quarter 50 yd FG from John Kasay to put the Cardinals away .  

Panther fans knew that a playoff rematch against Arizona would not be a cakewalk, but home field advantage, a first round bye, and their hard earned regular season victory over the Cardinals created a tenuous confidence in Carolina. If anything, Panther fans looked forward to two offensive juggernauts trading blows.  Instead of trading bows, hero of the regular season victory, Jake Delhomme just blew. When game day arrived literally fell apart.  Delhomme threw five interceptions and the wheels fell off the bus. I remember watching the game and just feeling like he had been bribed to throw the game. He made terrible decisions. He played just about as poorly as a quarterback could have. Which is why I ask again, would a late season loss to a non contending team be so bad for this Panthers team?

If I thought this team could run the table then so be it. However this is a young team,  and while they seem very focused right now,t my fear is they may start to believe the headlines and lose some of the focus. A late season loss may be just what they need to get back the focus they need to make a run to the Super Bowl.

Let me know.  Should we run the table or would a loss galvanize this team as they entered the playoffs.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Carolina Panthers:Keys to Victory vs Patriots

Tonight's game is the most important game so far this season for Carolina. It seems like week after week we are saying that, but this week it's especially true. Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are coming to town, and Carolina will have to play their best game to date in order to beat New England. I don’t know what the coaching staff and the Patriots as a team think of Carolina, but I know New England fans have no respect for the Panthers and every one of them I have spoken to seems to be of the same opinion--that New England will roll the Panthers. I guess they have been so good for so long that they have come to expect wins from their team. I can’t blame them for feeling this way but I do feel as if they are underestimating Carolina. That would be a very big mistake. That is part of the reason I think the Panthers will come out on top Monday night. Let’s see what else will factor into the Panthers win.

The most important factor in this game will be the Panthers' running game. What I mean is how committed the Panthers are to run the ball and how effective they are running it. New England has the third worst run defense. That is to say they are ranked 30th in the league against the run, giving up an average of 128 yards per game. This is a statistic that Carolina needs to take advantage of. This should include running the ball with Cam Newton as well. Quarterback draws and even a few roll outs with the run/pass option will draw the defense toward the line of scrimmage. That will open up the deep passing game, which Carolina should be able to hit late in the game. It would be nice to see Ted Ginn get behind the Patriots secondary and take one to the house. A steady dose of Mike Tolbert, DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart, and Cam Newton will wear down the Patriots defense and 2-3 yard runs in the first half turn into 4-5 yard runs in the 4th quarter. This is where Mike Shula and his play calling will be crucial. I know it is not always the most exciting or the most explosive, but for this team it is the most important. Running the ball takes pressure off of Cam, allowing him to get into the flow of the game. I have stressed this point all season. Cam is much better when we allow the game to come to him and allow him to get into a rhythm. For Cam that means running the ball from the pocket and on designed quarterback run plays. We will need to sprinkle in a read option or two, but we need not get infatuated with it. I know the Patriots are going to do all they can to stop the Panthers, run game. So at some point, Carolina will have to rely on Cam Newton’s arm.

Cam has had some passing success this season. He is at his best when the game is allowed to come to him slowly this is done by making use of a good running attack. Then he can get into a flow by throwing short crossing routes or to backs out of the backfield just to get into a comfort zone before trying anything downfield. He has done an excellent job this year of not getting out of sorts when he does make a bad throw or even throws an interception. And truth be told, he has been at his best on third down. That as many fans know is the money down and it is vital to keep drives alive. Converting 3rd downs leads to touchdowns instead of having to settle for field goals. Cam will have to be at his best to win Monday. He does not have to win the game for us but he needs to be careful with the ball. Turnovers will doom this team.

Unfortunately for the Panthers, New England is getting healthy. That means the offense is getting better as players get back on the field. The one area Pats fans feel they have the advantage is in the passing game. They hold Carolina’s secondary in very low regard. It is a mistake to not consider this unit dangerous. The Panthers secondary has been the biggest surprise of the defense this year. New England will not find it easy to throw the ball to their receivers because the defensive backs do a good job in coverage. Additionally the front four of Carolina is arguably the best at getting pressure on quarterbacks without the use of additional blitzers. That means Carolina can leave 7 defenders back in coverage. The Panthers have their hands full with the Patriots offense. They need to play sound fundamentally and make every tackle. The game will be won by a greater margin if the Panthers can force the Patriots into turnovers. Pressuring Brady will hurry his throws and could lead to a few interceptions. A few of those and it will be very difficult for Brady and company to win.

This game for the Panthers is simple. No turnovers, win the time of possession battle, and convert third down opportunities and they will win this game. If we are able to pull this win out, we will be on everyone’s radar. My prediction is Carolina 23 and New England 16. Keep Pounding!

Follow us on Twitter @Cat_Chronicles

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Carolina Panthers: Week 11 Panther Predictions

Well, well Panther Nation, this team has really stepped up. Carolina is playing some quality football right now. All led by it’s defense. What a great feeling it is to know when this team steps on the field, we have a chance to win. That is what we have been doing for the last five weeks, winning. I want nothing more than to make it six weeks as Monday night, Charlotte welcomes, Tom Brady and the News England Patriots. Alright let’s get started with my week 11 Panther Predictions.

Cam Newton will be a significant factor in the game. But not because of his arm. He will be a factor in the run game. I believe as a team Carolina will run for over 250 yards in this one. THey need to in order to keep Tom Brady off the field. I suspect Cam will run for around 75 yards and have one score. He will pass some but Carolina will keep it to a minimum. I am looking for about 20 pass attempts if they can be effective running the ball. Throwing for about 150 yards and another score.

The running back triumvirate of Mike Tolbert, DeAngelo Williams, and Jonathan Stewart will be of utmost importance Monday night. They will need to run hard and most importantly make ball security top priority. These guys combined will have nearly 200 yards on the ground themselves. And look for one of them to get a score. Between screen plays and check downs they should also contribute about 50 receiving yards. .

Receivers will be factors only when the run game is ineffective. They just need to focus on hanging on to the ball. Last week that seemed to be an issue with them. I am thankful Ted Ginn is on the team for shoring up the punt and kickoff returns but I really want to see him involved in the offense. He has game changing speed and it should be something we can incorporate into our offense. Now is the time for him to have his breakout performance. If Mike Shula calls the game like I think he should, look for this group to have about 100 yards receiving. Again I want to emphasize the importance of catching every ball thrown at them.  

The offensive line will need to be the best performing of these position groups. When we run the ball they need to dominate the Patriots defense. The key to beating the Patriots is keeping Brady on the sideline. When teams run the ball, generally, they hold the advantage in time of possession. We will want to hold this advantage. Last week we demonstrated the ability to run a four minute offense and run out the clock. Well mostly. The offensive line will have success running the ball, offensive coordinator Mike Shula just needs to stick with it. Runs of 2-3 yards in the first half turn into runs of 4-5 yards in the fourth quarter. This line takes a toll on the defenders. We need to take full advantage. Pass blocking of course will be important as well. When we do need to pass Cam needs to have sufficient time. When he feels hurried he tends to hurry his throws and his mechanics suffer as a result. If this happens it will lead to turnovers. Offensive line play will be crucial.

Defensive line will need to pressure Brady without any help from the back seven. We have the talent to make Brady uncomfortable in the pocket. I think if we get after Brady the way we did Kaepernick, this game will not be close. The defensive line will also be vitale in keeping the Patriots offensive lineman off Carolina’s linebackers. Allowing the linebackers to play “clean” (free from offensive lineman’s attempts at blocking them) will nullify the Patriots running game.
Charles Johnson and Dwan Edwards will each have a sack and Greg Hardy will get two.

The linebackers will have the unenviable task of trying to cover, “the manimal”, Rob Gronkowski. He is the premiere tight end in the AFC (no disrespect to Denver’s Julius Thomas, Gronk’s done it longer). Gronkowski’s rare combination of size, speed and hands make him such a tough cover. Additionally Luke Kuechly, THomas Davis, and the newest member of the “knights of the pound table” AJ Klein will also be asked to blitz and get after Tom Brady occasionally. Look for Klein and Davis to each sack Brady once. This group will be very effective.

The Panthers secondary is in for a challenge. Tom Brady is obviously one of the all time greats (pains me to say that). So the defensive backs will have to play their best game of the year to this point. As good as this defense is, the secondary has gone largely unnoticed. These guys are good. They have been the surprise of the 2013 season of all the position groups in my opinion. Captain Munnerlyn, Robert Lester, Melvin White, and Mike Mitchell have stepped in and truly done an admirable job. This challenge will be made much easier if the front seven can get pressure on Tom Brady. Mike Mitchell will continue his Pro Bowl caliber play and have another interception.

This game will be an instant classic. I am looking at this game as a fan and looking to exact some type of revenge for the Patriots defeating the Panthers back in Super Bowl XXXVIII. But in reality this game is more about gaining relevance. My Uncle Johnny is a huge Cowboys fan. We talk every Tuesday about the past weekend’s games. This past Tuesday he said we were flying just below everybody’s radar. He finished by saying after we beat New England we will be on everybody’s radar.

Carolina wins this one, 23-16.