The Carolina Panthers (6-7) road to the 2018 playoffs still requires some help from other teams, but above all they will need to help themselves.
On Sunday the Minnesota Vikings took care of business at home, besting the Miami Dolphins 41-17. That means the Vikings still control their own destiny for a playoff berth as they currently sit 7-6-1 with two games remaining. As for Cam Newton and the Panthers, even if they lose to the red-hot New Orleans Saints at home on Monday Night Football, Carolina still wouldn’t be mathematically eliminated from a playoff berth but would be pushed to the edge.
On the other hand, if Carolina can erase their five-game losing streak on MNF and finish the season winning their last three games, then their chances of sliding into the No. 6 seed in the NFC look fairly good. Although they would still need the Vikings to lose one of its last two games against either the Detroit Lions or Chicago Bears in Week 17 as well as another loss for the Washington Redskins. Both of which are very likely. Except, the Redskins (7-7) managed to pull a little further from the Panthers after pulling off a late-game comeback against the Jacksonville Jaguars 16-13 on Sunday. Additionally, Washington holds the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Panthers. The Redskins will likely end up losing one of their last two games against the reigning Super Bowl champs (The Philadelphia Eagles, 6-7) or the Tennessee Titans.
Nonetheless, like I said before, Carolina needs to take care of business themselves before they can worry about other teams. And it’s going to be very difficult. They’ll most likely have to beat the Saints twice, who they lost to all three-times last season as well as the Atlanta Falcons who they lost to 31-24 earlier in Week 2.