After the tumult of last weekend’s shocking and disturbing allegations against Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson settled down, there was this matter of preparing for a game – an important one, at that. While the NFL’s investigation into Richardson’s workplace misconduct is just getting started, the Panthers (10-4) have a chance to sweep their three-game homestand and wrap up a playoff berth for the fourth time in five seasons. Standing in their way is Tampa Bay (4-10), which brings its MASH unit to Bank of America Stadium on Sunday. With a victory, Carolina would be tied with Green Bay and Seattle for most playoff berths in the NFC over the past five seasons. (The Seahawks still have an outside chance to earn a playoff spot for the fifth year in a row.) The Buccaneers placed five players on injured reserve this week, including their top two picks this year in tight end O.J. Howard and safety Justin Evans, plus cornerback Vernon Hargreaves and guard J.R. Sweezy. Plus, Tampa Bay will be without wideout DeSean Jackson and defensive end Robert Ayers against Carolina. It’s a game the Panthers should win easily. Bookmakers have Carolina as a 10-point home favorite.
Carolina Panthers can join an elite group by beating banged-up Bucs to make playoffs
Charlotte Observer | Dec 23