The Carolina Panthers aren't getting any respect from around the league, and are 10 point underdogs in their matchup against the Seattle Seahawks. The analysts, the media, and other NFL fans don't believe that the Panthers have a chance at beating the Seahawks. I think that the Carolina Panthers need Aretha Franklin to get on ESPN, and start singing “Respect.” She is booked this week so I will sing a verse for you, “All the Panthers are asking for is a little respect when they go to Seattle. (just a little bit)” That is one way to let people know that the Panthers deserve to be in the playoffs. The other way is to show it on the field, during their matchup against the Seahawks.
Why aren't the Panthers being respected around the league?
Lost 6 games in a row
The NFC South is the weakest division in the NFL
Away game at Seattle
Cam Newton's 54% completion percentage against Seattle
Beat the Cardinals without Carson Palmer, and Andre Ellington
Greg Hardy missing
Red zone troubles
Even with all of these reasons, I still think that the Carolina Panthers deserve respect from the rest of the NFL. Here is why....
Won 5 games in a row
Cam Newton's legs
Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis
Battled through adversity
The Carolina Panthers deserve respect because of how they reached the playoffs. They had to battle through adversity, and won their last four games in a row. In those four games the defense only allowed 10.75 points per game, and ended up finishing top 10 in the league. The Panthers found the right recipe, and they carried that momentum into the playoffs. It didn't come easy though, there were retirements, injuries, and bad play. This team was going down hill real fast, but the rookies stepped up. There are currently three rookies starting on offense (Kelvin Benjamin, Trai Turner, and Andrew Norwell), and three rookies (Adarius Glanton, Bene' Benwikere, and Tre Boston) starting on defense. These rookies have played extremely well, and helped the Panthers get into the playoffs.
The last offensive line shuffle was a success! The Panthers can finally run the ball again, and are averaging 127.3 ypg. They rushing attack has been led by Cam Newton, and Jonathan Stewart. They have both been healthy, and running well. This combination creates headaches for opposing defenses. The success of the offensive line, and run game will be key to a victory in Seattle.
The front seven of the Panthers can tackle, plug up the running holes, and pressure the quarterback. The defense has done this over the past five games, and should continue to play like sharks going after the ball against the Seahawks. Greg Hardy has been out but it hasn't mattered, because other players have stepped up. Charles Johnson finished the season with 8.5 sacks, and Mario Addison finished second on the team with 6.5 sacks. Interesting fact: The Panthers have prevented Marshawn Lynch from reaching 100 rushing yards in the past three games. He has also been held without a rushing touchdown.
Marshawn Lynch's last 3 games against the Panthers... 2012: 21 rush, 85 yds, 0 TD 2013: 17 rush, 43 yds, 0 TD 2014: 14 rush, 62 yds, 0 TD— Panthers 24/7 (@Panthers24_7) January 6, 2015
The Carolina Panthers did beat the Cardinals without their starting quarterback, and running back, but those weren't the only major injuries in the NFL. Take a look at this tweet by Brian Wensil below:
BAL beats PIT w/out their All-Pro RB = great win IND beats CIN w/out their top WR & TE = great win CAR beats ARI = eh, it was Ryan Lindley— Brian (@brianwensil) January 6, 2015
The media seems to pick, and choose which wins are “great wins.” The Pittsburgh Steelers lost their playoff game, because they were without Le'Veon Bell. The Cincinnati Bengals lost their playoff game, because they were missing A.J. Green, and Jermaine Gresham. Those players are key to their offenses, and those injuries are being overlooked by the media. Where is the respect for the Carolina Panthers?
Do the Carolina Panthers deserve respect? I will let you decide....
By, Justin Raymond
Follow Me On Twitter @JayRay19