The Carolina Panthers have proven to be the best team in the NFC, but they still aren't being treated as the NFC favorite to reach the Super Bowl. Even after beating the Green Bay Packers in Week 9, the Panthers have worse championship odds than Aaron Rodgers and Co.
Following their 37-29 loss in Carolina, Green Bay has the NFC’s best title odds at +750 at Bovada.lv. The Panthers and Arizona Cardinals are tied for second in the conference at +800.
By most measures, the Panthers have proven to be the NFC’s top team. At 8-0, they are the only undefeated team remaining in the conference, and they have a two-game lead for the NFC’s best record. Carolina has beaten their share of bad opponents, but they also boast a road win over the defending NFC champion Seattle Seahawks and a recent victory over the Packers.
The Packers began the season with six straight wins, but they’ve lost two consecutive games, going on the road to face undefeated teams. The Cardinals have a two-game lead in the AFC West at 6-2, and they last beat the Cleveland Browns before their bye in Week 9. Neither Green Bay nor Arizona has beaten a team that has a winning record heading into Week 10.
Carolina might not be the favorite in the NFC, but they’ve come a long way since the start of the season. Entering Week 1, 17 teams had better championship odds than the Panthers, who were a longshot to win the Super Bowl at +5000.
Dating back to last season, the Panthers have won 12 consecutive regular-season games, giving them the longest active streak in the NFL. Carolina hasn’t lost at home since Nov. 16, 2015, and they are in a terrific position to earn home-field advantage through the NFC playoffs with a two-game lead in the standings.
After beating the Cardinals in the wild-card round of last year's playoffs the Panthers lost in Seattle. The previous season saw the Panthers lose a home playoff game in the divisional round, following a first-round bye.
With three games left against winning teams, the Panthers don’t have the easiest remaining schedule. They’ll play the 6-3 Atlanta Falcons twice, and Carolina is set to visit the NFC East leading New York Giants. The Panthers will also visit the Dallas Cowboys, who should have Tony Romo back for their matchup with Carolina on Thanksgiving.
Cam Newton has played himself into the MVP conversation, even though some of his numbers don’t appear overly impressive. He ranks 26th in passer rating (81.3) and passing yards per game (228), while throwing for a worse completion percentage than 30 other starting quarterbacks (53.7). But Newton’s 19 total touchdowns have him tied for third in all of football, and he’s led Carolina to the league’s fourth-highest scoring average.
Carolina’s defense has been a little better than average, ranking 11th in points allowed (20.6) and 13th in yards allowed per game (350). They are one of just six teams that hasn’t allowed 30 points in any game.
The New England Patriots are heavily favored to repeat as Super Bowl champs with +225 odds. New England is undefeated, having won every game by at least a touchdown.