4 ways the Carolina Panthers can still impact the playoff picture

(Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) Matt Rhule
(Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) Matt Rhule /
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Carolina Panthers
(Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports) Matt Rhule /

The Carolina Panthers could still impact the 2020 playoff picture.

Although the Carolina Panthers have little chance of booking a postseason berth this season, their remaining games should ensure they’re still going to have a big say in certain playoff scenarios. This probably won’t come into their thoughts as much as trying to end their campaign on a high, but the ramifications are there for all to see.

The Carolina Panthers weren’t expected to get anywhere close to the playoffs this season. Big changes were made across the board under a new regime in the offseason and it’s inevitably seen some ups and downs that were projected before competitive action got underway.

Matt Rhule has proven he’s the right man for the job and this season will have been a tremendous learning experience for him after taking the big step of moving from college earlier this year. Things might look even more promising with better reinforcements in the offseason and gaining more victories in their remaining five games will make this proposition more realistic.

Here are four ways that the Panthers could be big players in the playoff picture, even if it’s highly unlikely they’ll make it to the knockout stage of the season themselves.

Impact No. 1

Carolina Panthers
(Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports) Dalvin Cook /

Knocking the Vikings out of contention

The Vikings looked like a team that could make a late playoff push after starting the season 1-5. They could still rally with some winnable games on the schedule, but their loss at home to the Dallas Cowboys in Week 11 was nothing short of a disaster.

Carolina will be chomping at the bit to gain their second consecutive victory ahead of their bye week, and success at U.S. Bank Stadium would officially end any hopes of Mike Zimmer’s men making their presence felt in the postseason.

It will be a stern test of their credentials, of that there is little doubt. But the Panthers will be giving everything to ensure Teddy Bridgewater gets one over on his old team.