The bye week is typically a good time for teams to get their players healthy and correct any mistakes to get back on track for the remainder of the season. This hasn’t been the case for the Carolina Panthers under head coach Ron Rivera unfortunately, and after a 1-5 start, the Panthers are pretty much in a must win situation if they want any chance to salvage this season.
Ironically, the Panthers are 1-5 after a bye week under Rivera. That also happens to be their record heading into this bye week. Carolina has been outscored 148-73 coming out of their bye. The only post-bye week win came last season over Seattle at Century Link field thanks to a game winning touchdown drive by Cam Newton and Greg Olsen.
It won’t be easy this time around either as the Panthers host the Arizona Cardinals, who they easily defeated in the NFC Championship to advance to Super Bowl 50. But things have clearly changed since then. Arizona defeated the Panthers in 2013 after week four bye 22-6 that brought the Panthers to 1-3 on the season. Carolina would roll to a then franchise best 8 game win streak and finish the season 12-4 and host a divisional round playoff game.
Rivera is taking a slightly different approach this season after a rough start.
“I’m going to bring the guys in and we’re going to work the first two days next week and then we’re going to get them out of there,” Rivera said. “I told them I want them to get away from it, don’t read anything, don’t watch anything, don’t listen to anything. Just get yourselves ready to come back focused in and start right back to work the following Monday.”
Rivera and company will have it’s hands full with a Cardinal offense who loves deep plays with Carson Palmer and his wide receivers. While Arizona isn’t off to it’s strongest start either, Carolina’s 25th ranked pass defense and lack of pass rush thus far will play right into their strengths. Arizona plays host to Seattle during the Panthers bye.
Come Halloween, the Panthers hope to have improved both of the records above to 2-5. Giving them two straight victories coming out of a bye.