Three reasons why the Carolina Panthers playoff chances are still alive and well.
The Carolina Panthers wave of momentum came crashing to a halt in front of a national television audience last Thursday night in Pittsburgh. The Steelers dismantled the Carolina defense and offensive line on their way to a convincing Week 10 victory.
The loss put Carolina another game back in the division race and they were fortunate the Cleveland Browns handled Atlanta, maintaining their second place standing with some confidence moving forward. As the season progresses a clearer picture of the playoffs will begin to develop but for now there are still plenty of possibilities.
Carolina could rally and win the division, find themselves with a wild card berth for the second consecutive year or simply crash and burn. All hopes are for the first scenario and with both games against New Orleans remaining it is entirely possible but the Saints have shown no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
A downfall would be unexpected but Carolina has never put together back-to-back winning seasons and even a wildcard berth is likely to require nine or more wins. Despite the recent poor performance, the Panthers have time to rebound and each of the following characteristics provides optimism for the future.