The Carolina Panthers have had their most SUPER NFL regular season in franchise history. It has been a great ride. However, if this season is a one-and-done scenario in the Playoffs, it will be a tough pill to swallow and the attention will turn to how to improve this team. And playoff match ups are everything, so let’s take a look at what the Week 17 games mean to the Panthers playoff scenarios.
First Round Bye
The Panthers are guaranteed at least a first round bye and a home game the following week. What is not yet decided is who they could play and if they may have to also play a game on the road to get to Super Bowl 50. The only way the Panthers lose home field advantage is if they lose to the 6-9 Tampa Bay Buccaneers at home on Sunday AND the Arizona Cardinals beat the Seattle Seahawks.
Two Games To Keep An Eye On
Minnesota Vikings take on the Green Bay Packers in Lambeau for all of the NFC North marbles. The winner hosts a playoff game and the loser travels to play their matchup the following week.
Seattle Seahawks take on the Arizona Cardinals. This is the game I’ll have my eye on during the Panthers game. Should the Panthers falter on Sunday, they still can hold on to a #1 seeding with a Cardinals loss. But even should the Panthers win, this game impacts our road (yes I said our) to Santa Clara.
Bringing It All Together
As you can see, Sunday's games are no laughing matter. If Seattle loses to Arizona, the loser of Vikings-Packers game will hold the No. 5 seed, and Seattle will fall to No. 6. However, should Seattle win and the Vikings lose, it the Vikings fall to No. 6. That would put the Seahawks as the No. 5 seed and they would play the Packers in the Wild Card Game. Now, should Green Bay lose, Seattle is No. 6 no matter what and heads to Minnesota.
So if the Panthers hold on to the top seed, as expected, we would take on the lowest seed still standing after the No. 3 team takes on the No. 6 team and the No 4 team takes on the No. 5 team. So let’s say the Panthers, Cards and Packers win on Sunday, the Panthers would be taking on the lowest remaining seed still standing after a Green Bay (No.3) takes on Seattle (No. 6) and The Skins (No. 4) taking on the Vikings (No.5).
So yes this has been the best Panthers regular season in Franchise history, but now we anxiously await to see how they perform in the Playoffs. Match-ups matter, so I personally would rather take on the winner of the Skins and Vikings than the winner of Green Bay and Seattle. Lots to watch on Sunday. Sit back and enjoy.