A three-game losing streak now has the Carolina Panthers outside of the playoff picture in the NFC.
Once upon a time in 2018, the Carolina Panthers looked like they were back to their Super Bowl contending ways.
But that was a few weeks ago. Since then, Cam Newton’s crew has all but unraveled. After a 30-27 loss to the Seattle Seahawks in Week 12, which came via a game-winning field goal by Sebastian Janikowski, Carolina’s playoff hopes took a massive hit.
For the time being, they are out of the playoff picture in the NFC.
The Seahawks were able to rally behind Russell Wilson, who threw for 339 yards and two touchdowns on Sunday, to set Janikowski up for the 31-yard game-winner as time expired. As he’s done many times throughout his 19-year career, the 40-year-old kicker came through.
Janikowski’s kick handed the Panthers their third consecutive loss and dropped them to 6-5 on the season. Their dream of winning the NFC South pretty much ended weeks ago as the New Orleans Saints morphed into the hottest team in the league, currently running away with the division at 10-1.
But a wild card spot has always been in play for the Panthers. Just a few weeks ago, they were looking good at 6-2. But then a Thursday night thrashing at the hands of the Pittsburgh Steelers kicked off their three-game skid, and it continued last week with a deflating loss to very poor Detroit Lions.
Now, after a third straight loss, the Panthers are in a hole, and it’s definitely not a place they want to be in right now with still two matchups against the Saints coming up in December.
Luckily, their other three remaining games are against Cleveland, Tampa Bay and Atlanta. The Panthers will have to take advantage of those opponents if they want to stay alive.
But Carolina is competing with Minnesota, Washington, Seattle, Philadelphia, and even Green Bay for one of those two wild card spots. Even if the Panthers win those three non-Saints games, it still might not be enough.