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
(Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports) Ron Rivera /

Damaging Washington’s NFC East title hopes

In a normal NFL season, it would seem bizarre that the Washington Football Team could still be in playoff contention at this juncture. But the NFC East is simply that bad.

The Carolina Panthers will be aiming to get one over on their former head coach Ron Rivera, who was fired late in the 2019 campaign after things became a little bit lethargic during his final two years of a largely successful reign overall.

There will be plenty to play for in this one even if Washington tails off in a dismal-looking divisional battle for supremacy. Rivera will be keen for revenge after not getting the chance to see the season out in Carolina and although coaching staff and player personnel are largely different, he’ll still know more about the organization than most.

Looking at the remaining games on the Panthers’ schedule, this does appear to be one of the more winnable. Washington boasts a formidable defensive front that can cause significant disruption, but their lingering questions at the quarterback position is something that might eventually cost them a shock playoff berth.

Carolina won’t be playing for anything other than pride at this point. But they’ll still need to finish the campaign strongly to give them the best possible chance of acquiring the right sort of quality during free agency.