Prediction – Minnesota Vikings at Carolina Panthers

You might as well consider this the first playoff game for the Carolina Panthers as they face the Minnesota Vikings. By the looks of the NFC South, there are no more games that can be tossed aside as a luxury. Each and every game from here on out is a must win if the Panthers wish to remove any doubt surrounding a postseason.

The Vikings, on the other hand,  look like one of the two best teams in the NFC. The only question at this point is will they get the first or second seed.

So the Carolina Panther will likely lose today right? Not so fast.

Two Captains Return

The Carolina Panthers offense has struggled throughout the season, but in all fairness that have been missing two of their most important captains. Greg Olsen and Ryan Kalil mean so much more to this team than just the production. They are the players that help steer and motivate the entire offense. Co-leaders along with Cam Newton.

The lack of focus and overall cohesion as a unit has been painfully obvious at times this season. One has to believe that getting back two captains on offense will help remedy that situation. If the Carolina Panthers have a prayer against the Minnesota Vikings today, that had better be the case.

An Angry Defense

The Panthers defense was embarrassed last week in New Orleans. It is one thing to be out coached, but quite another to exhibit such a poor execution of football fundamentals. Twelve missed tackled highlighted the Panthers stat line. An oddity for a defense that has ranked in the top 5 all season long.

Look for the Panthers defense to make a statement today against the Vikings. If they can hold the surprisingly efficient group to under 20 points, anything can happen.

Conclusion

This has been a dreary week in the Carolinas. Fans are pessimistic about their 8-4 Panthers. That changes later this evening with a Panthers victory.

Carolina Panthers – 17

Minnesota Vikings – 16

Agree? Disagree? You can sound off right here with thousands of Carolina Panthers fans.

Jeremy Igo is owner of Carolina Huddle. Based in Charlotte, he has covered the Carolina Panthers for over a decade.