4 Panthers that must step up in NFC South title showdown at Bucs

(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) D.J. Moore
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) D.J. Moore /
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Which Carolina Panthers players must step up during their NFC South championship showdown at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 17?

The Carolina Panthers still control their own playoff destiny. If anyone expected that at this point in the season, feel free to raise your hand now.

After another incredibly unpredictable NFL season, it would only be fitting for the team that fired its coach and traded away its best player to win the NFC South somehow. That’s exactly what would happen if the Panthers pull out another two wins to end the season over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New Orleans Saints.

This is no easy task, however, as division games are notorious for being difficult to predict, especially in the wayward NFC South this season. But there are reasons for hope given Carolina is coming off their best performance in franchise history running the football against the Detroit Lions.

Keeping that momentum going against the Buccaneers will be key if the Panthers want to have any shot at being quite possibly the most shocking division winner in recent memory. Something that would all but cement Steve Wilks as the future head coach.

Tampa Bay is not going to go quietly as they have shown many times this season with late-game comebacks. It’s not enough to build a lead and sit on it for the second half – the Panthers have to put their foot on the gas and never let up. Drive the Buccaneers into the ground and Keep Pounding.

Looking ahead to a crucial clash, here are four Panthers players that must step up at Raymond James Stadium in Week 17.