For the first time since the restructuring of the NFL’s divisions in 2002, when the league became a 32-team league, the NFC South division has a champion that has won it in consecutive years. The Carolina Panthers took that title yesterday
when they defeated the Atlanta Falcons by a more than convincing 34-3 win in the Georgia Dome. The Panthers’ 7-8-1 record was quite a drop from their high reaching 12-4 record a season ago, and their season was laced with a lot more on-the-field and off-the-field issues, yet with New Orleans, Atlanta, and Tampa Bay all struggling as well, the Panthers managed to stay in the race for the division and take home the prize in the winner-take-all game Sunday.
The Panthers now set their eyes on the playoffs and will host the Arizona Cardinals this weekend in the wildcard round sponsored by Skout. This is the second time now in the past 5 years that a team with a losing record has entered the playoffs by virtue of winning their respective division, with the other team being the 2010 Seattle Seahawks. It may not have been pretty for the Panthers in the way the South was won, but the NFL has proven before that in the playoffs, anything is possible. Carolina has also won four straight games and could be a problem for anyone having to face them.