Black & Blue Huddle, Week 12: Could a 3-game losing streak be on the way?

Carolina Panthers

Seriously, the Panthers have to get it together if they want to play in early January.

Carolina sits at 5-5 with the New Orleans Saints on the horizon. A loss would knock them four games back of the divisional lead (Saints lead at 8-2), but a win..a win would bring them within two games, putting them in striking distance for a late-season coup for the division title.

It’s possible, but unlikely that two NFC South teams make it to the playoffs, so every game — more than ever — is important.

Unfortunately, Carolina seems to be in a rut. It’s déjà vu for the Panthers it seems.

Last season they began the year strong before dropping game after game..after game. Do you see anything different?

Gone is the early season, Cinderella-like magic from interim quarterback Kyle Allen. Defenses have figured him out and his offensive line isn’t doing him any favors.

As a matter of fact, the entire offense looked anemic versus the Falcons. Head coach Ron Rivera elected for a field goal down 29-0, instead of going for a touchdown. Talk about not wanting to get shutout.

Christian McCaffrey has still been good, but the talk of MVP has died down over the past couple of weeks but maybe that’s because everyone’s perceived awards race leaders have just been recently better. Most know about the “what have you done for me lately?” phenomenon.

He’s still put up 100 rushing yards in three of his past four games, but when the losses pile up, people forget about you.

Historically, McCaffrey has not been good against the Saints. In four games, he has 29 carries for 103 yards and has not sniffed the endzone on the ground.

Though McCaffrey hasn’t had much success against the Saints, we know that he has to get his touches. It’s all about what he does with them that will dictate how far this offense goes. The Panthers can’t look at history and refuse to give their best player the ball and space to make plays.

The Saints, who on paper are a much more formidable opponent, will be at home where quarterback Drew Brees is so much more dangerous. Add in the fact that superstar wide receiver Michael Thomas is on pace to break longstanding receiving records and you have a problem. New Orleans’ defense is also an underrated unit.

Carolina’s front seven needs to show up and put bodies in Drew Brees’ face. It’s going to be the only way this defense slows down one of the league’s best offensive attacks.

What about running back Alvin Kamara who Rivera compared to McCaffrey? The two have a similar skillset and both do some of everything for their team.

Ron Rivera has been here before and he knows things can and will continue to get worse. Hopefully, Rivera has been preaching assignment-oriented football because Carolina finds themselves out of position a ton.

So could a three-game losing streak be on the way? The Panthers have already dropped three out of their past four contests and are still dealing with key injuries on defense.

On a good day, the Panthers can put up points with some of the best in the league and won’t have to worry about the weather getting in the way of some of Kyle Allen’s arid throws. Will we see the offense make a comeback to early season glory? Or has the clock struck 12 on Allen and crew?

It will be another tough one but it’s time for the Panthers to put one together to break this losing streak and re-enter the NFC playoff race.

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