December 16, 2013 |
OK, Panthers, once more with feeling. For the second time in three weeks, the Carolina Panthers will face the New Orleans Saints in a high-stakes NFC South showdown that will go a long way toward bringing the playoff picture into focus. Hanging in the balance is sole possession of first place in the division, and a possible first-round bye in the postseason. The Panthers, who have won nine of 10 games, suffered a 31-13 defeat at New Orleans in Week 14 but got new life Sunday when the Saints lost at St. Louis, 27-16.
December 9, 2013
The New England Patriots must get used to playing without Rob Gronkowski again. The star tight end who missed the first six games while recovering from surgeries is done for the season after being placed on injured reserve Monday with a damaged right knee. That experience could help the Patriots handle his absence. "I'd like to think there's going to be some carry-over there, not only [from] the first six weeks of the season, but the entire training camp as well," Coach Bill Belichick said Monday.
December 5, 2013 |
The Carolina Panthers have won eight in a row, and Sunday are headed to New Orleans for their most daunting challenge of the season. For the 9-3 Panthers, the objective is to thrive in the chaos and noise of the Superdome against a seasoned 9-3 Saints team that's 6-0 in that building. It's in these times that the Panthers lean on All-Pro receiver Steve Smith, who is at his best under pressure, as he was last month when he repeatedly upstaged New England corner Aqib Talib in a 24-20 victory over the Patriots.
November 29, 2013 |
Richie Incognito isn't any closer to getting back on the field for the Miami Dolphins, but his days without a paycheck will soon be over. NFL Media reported that Incognito and the Dolphins have reached an agreement to extend Incognito's suspension with pay while Ted Wells completes his independent investigation, according to people with ties to the Dolphins, the league and Incognito. As part of Incognito's agreement, he will be paid retroactively for the last two games and will receive game checks for the next two weeks.
November 19, 2013 |
Tom Brady might have not liked the call, but in the end, the New England Patriots quarterback blamed himself for not making a "better throw" on the final play of the team's controversial 24-20 loss to the Carolina Panthers on Monday night. Brady's attempt at a game-winning touchdown pass to tight end Rob Gronkowski was intercepted in the end zone as time expired, but a flag was thrown on the play in what appeared to be a pass-interference call. The referees then decided a foul was not committed by the Panthers, ending the game.
November 18, 2013 |
They are the darlings of the NFL - Seattle, Denver, Kansas City, New Orleans, San Francisco - but it isn't always the November darlings that wind up lifting the Lombardi Trophy in February. Last season, for instance, the eventual-champion Baltimore Ravens lost four of five games in December before igniting in the playoffs and going on their run. There are similar stories for other recent Super Bowl winners. So, while it's easy to be distracted by the so-called elite teams in the NFL, there's also a second tier of teams who have risen from the ashes of shaky starts and, though they don't lead their respective divisions, have played their way to relevance.