We’re getting closer and closer to the end of the 2015 NFL regular season and the Carolina Panthers are still undefeated, the only team without a loss remaining. We do have more and more teams without any hope left to make the postseason, as the Cleveland Browns are joined by the San Francisco 49ers, Detroit Lions, Tennessee Titans, San Diego Chargers and Baltimore Ravens.
The Panthers stayed on top of the NFL with their 13-0 record which is also 17 consecutive wins dating back to last season. They destroyed the Atlanta Falcons 38-0 to assert their divisional dominance and probably make the Falcons forget about making the playoffs this season. At 6-7, they’re still mathematically part of the race, but they’re two games behind the Minnesota Vikings and have lost six in a row; seven of their last eight. This team is in complete meltdown mode, and dreaming about impossible things isn’t going to get them back on track.
The Falcons turned the ball over four times. As we mentioned before the game, the Panthers don’t always need too many yards in order to put up a lot of points on the board. They simply take advantage of every opportunity, which in this case were interceptions by Matt Ryan and Sean Renfree, while Ryan also added a fumble and Devonta Freeman lost one of his own. The Panthers didn’t turn the ball over once, and didn’t score immediately off those turnovers, but they made things very simple for Cam Newton, who finished the game with three passing touchdowns while Jonathan Stewart and Fozzy Whittaker ran for one each.
So while the Panthers are one game closer to clinching home field advantage (another win for them and Cardinals loss would do it), five more teams join the Browns to the ranks of those who can officially start planning for the 2016 season, and won’t be making the playoffs this year. It was only a matter of time for all of them, but while there’s a chance, teams always like to keep up appearances and make it seem like they’re thinking on making it.
The 49ers were embarrassed by the Browns, held to just 10 points and letting Johnny Manziel come out of that encounter with some confidence. The Lions looked real bad in a loss to the St. Louis Rams, unable to stop Todd Gurley. The Titans looked just as bad in a loss to the New York Jets, the San Diego Chargers keep on embarrassing offensively with just 3 points against the Kansas City Chiefs, while the Ravens, maybe the team hit with more big injuries than anyone else, couldn’t really put up a fight against the red hot Seattle Seahawks.