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Loss today could end Carolina's season

December 17, 2006|From the Associated Press

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — This is the week that can officially end the Carolina Panthers' season.

A win over the Pittsburgh Steelers (6-7) today would keep Carolina (6-7) mathematically alive for a playoff spot. But a loss would certainly cement the Panthers' status as one of the biggest busts of 2006.

Picked by many to win the Super Bowl this year, the Panthers must win their final three games of the year to have a chance to make the playoffs. It's hardly what Keyshawn Johnson signed up for when he agreed to come play in Carolina this year.

"I never envisioned that I'd be 6-7 and scratching and clawing to find a way into the playoffs when I signed with this organization," the receiver said. "At the end of the day, the only thing I care about is getting into the playoffs. I couldn't care less about anything other than that. When that doesn't happen, you get a little frustrated about it. "

There are considerable differences in these two teams, particularly at quarterback. Ben Roethlisberger is finally healthy for Pittsburgh, and Jake Delhomme is injured when the Panthers need him most.

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