You come to Sam Mills Fan for hard truths. Here are some hard truths:
- The Patriots are nearly unbeatable under Belichick late in regular seasons and after bye weeks.
- The Patriots are 7-2. We are 6-3.
- The Panthers are favored, albeit by a razor thin margin on Monday.
- The Panthers are the toast of the NFL media after the win over the Niners on Sunday.
- Panthers fans are suddenly as confident as they've been at least since the 2008 season.
Now, for those of you that have been Panthers fans long enough to remember 1995-2008, does this seem like a recipe for victory on Monday night? I don't think so. I've seen this script a million times before and it nearly always ends in a big defeat. Reminds me of when we went into Chicago in 2005 on a big winning streak around this time of year with a similar record and were being picked as a possible SB favorite and we got beaten pretty badly by the Bears because Jake laid an egg.
If I HAD to pick, I would go with my brain over my heart and pick the Patriots on Monday night. But even if we do lose, I think this team is still very poised to do some damage in the playoffs. And if we win, bucking all prior preconceptions about the Panthers throughout the franchise's entire history? Then you might want to start making plans for New York come February.
I hope I'm wrong!