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The 3-Win Panthers Have An Unusual Shot At The Playoffs

Bank of America Stadium

The Carolina Panthers are preparing to head to the frozen north this weekend to face the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. The Panthers haven’t won a game since early October, but find themselves in an unusual position for their record: They still control their own playoff destiny.

The Panthers don’t need to compete with the rest of the NFL to make the playoffs—just their division, the NFC South, which has been so bad that the New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons are tied for the best record with just four wins each. The Panthers have three wins, but play both teams in the remaining five weeks, giving them a chance to catch up.

“It’s a five game season for us, and we got to take them one at a time.” Panthers coach Ron Rivera said at a press conference Wednesday. “I know it’s a little odd, some people migh think it’s embarrassing, I don’t. You play the games that you play, and there have been six seeds [lowest-ranked team to make the playoffs] that have won the Super Bowl, so we’ll see what happens for us.”

If the Panthers win their division they’ll have an easier than time than those teams. They’ll automatically play their first game at home, even if they limp in with a losing record.