The Carolina Panthers 2012 season has been a painful reminder that this franchise is far from contending for a Super Bowl. Fans aspirations were mistakenly set too high after a promising rookie season from quarterback Cam Newton.
Though he only managed six wins in his first year, Newton showed at times that he was capable of competing with the best in the league. His exciting play making abilities were something Panther fans had never experienced from their quarterback.
Like a one night stand, Cam Newton’s rookie year was here and gone in a flash. After witnessing his play through nine games this season, it’s hard to say whether this guy’s game will ever come to fruition. It’s time to face the facts for Panther fans, who know at this point there’s little chance at reaching the playoffs.
Denver Broncos vs. Carolina Panthers Preview and Prediction
If you put your ear to the ground you can hear the Denver Broncos coming. Peyton Manning has officially re-emerged as one of the NFL’s best quarterbacks. His play continues to improve with each ensuing game, and has quickly picked up where he left off after coming back from a neck injury that sidelined him for the entire 2011 season. He has the ability to make throws that will give any defensive back nightmares, and has no problem wearing out opponents with his arm and shear will to win.
This week the (5-3) Denver Broncos trip across country to face off against the (2-6) Carolina Panthers in what will be head coach John Fox’s first game back at Bank of America Stadium since being fired by his former club. Fox was ousted as head coach of the Panthers following a lame-duck 2010 season in which his team finished just 2-14. Looking back, Panthers fans are probably kicking themselves for getting rid of Fox. He not only has a winning record in his career as head coach, but also has the Broncos in line for a potential Super Bowl Run this season.
For the (1-6) Carolina Panthers this season has been about as miserable as any I can recall. The Panthers have not only failed to live up to high expectations, but have done so in epic fashion. Many experts picked them as a potential super bowl contender coming into the season; it’s safe to say that’s out of the question as they now rank dead last in the NFC after just nine weeks of play.
There’s no doubt the Panthers have the talent to win games, but for some reason they continue to lose week in and week out. They have just one win through seven games, losing five straight after blowing fourth quarter leads in four of those contest.
It’s heartbreaking for players and fans alike, having already cost General Manager Marty Hurney his job after an 11 year stretch defined by his teams up and down success. There could be more firings on the way if the Panthers fail to improve their play, and with a tough upcoming schedule it seems likely that things will only get worse before they get better.
Carolina Panthers vs. Chicago Bears Preview and Prediction:
The Carolina Panthers (1-5) are now one third of the way through the 2012 season, and have little to show for it. With the recent firing of General Manager Marty Hurney, Panther’s fans hope it’s not too late to turn things around. A win against the Chicago Bears this Sunday could go a long way in doing just that.
A losing environment has surrounded the Carolina Panthers franchise over the past four years, making it a clear decision something needed to change. This leaves Hurney as the odd man out. It’s a tuff pill to swallow for the Panthers as many players held a close relationship with the long time GM. They even accepted responsibility for his firing, knowing this came as a result of their recent play on the field.
Players such as defensive end Charles Johnson backed up his former General Manager with statements on Twitter: "Marty wasn't the reason we are losing! ... Unbelievable!"
Oakland Raiders v. Atlanta Falcons Preview: Week 6
The Atlanta Falcons tremendous start to the 2012 season has been no surprise to the NFL. Their high powered offensive attack has literally blown away opposing defenses. Starting quarterback Matt Ryan attributes much of this success to the flashy weaponry at his disposal as Roddy White and Julio Jones boasts a deadly wide receiving tandem along with the ageless wonder tight end Tony Gonzalez whose 39 catches are tops in the league.
Throughout the course of Matt Ryan’s career Atlanta has had very little trouble winning in the regular season. His consistency at quarterback has been truly remarkable, all but solidifying himself as an elite player in the NFL. However, he has turned out miserable performances in his three playoff games with the Falcons (all losses). These particular games have defined Ryan’s career, holding him back from joining the league's elites in the eyes of fans. For him nothing would be more pleasurable than to erase those memories with a deep playoff run this year.