For the sake of your own health, never play against the Carolina Panthers

Be careful playing after the Panthers.

Be careful playing after the Panthers.
photo, Getty Images

The Carolina Panthers are not a good team. They really are one of the worst teams in the NFL. They are touting a former XFL quarterback as their starter. They lost Christian McCaffrey and Robby Anderson. They don’t use DJ Moore. They are one of only two teams to have made a head coaching change this year. They are near the bottom of the league in total offense, total defense, and passer rating. Yet, somehow, him playing in 2022 is bad news for your future.

Look, every team that has played the Carolina Panthers this season has lost the following week. In Week 1, the Baker Mayfield Revenge Game was thwarted by the Cleveland Browns and Jacoby Brissett. In week 2 the Browns lost to Joe Flacco and the New York Jets. The loss was devastating as Cleveland led by two scores with a minute and a half to go in the game. In the second week, the New York Giants defeated the Panthers 19–16. In Week 3, they lost their home opener to the Dallas Cowboys. In Week 4, the Saints lost to Minnesota. The next week the Cardinals lost to Philadelphia. The 49ers should have had an easy win against Atlanta in Week 6. Marcus Mariota had one of the best games of his career as they routed San Fran 28–14. You would think that the Rams would be safe since they played Carolina in Week 6 and had a bye in Week 7, but the moment Los Angeles returned to the field, even with a well-rested team, Also, they could not escape the curse. The 49ers demolished them.

Opponents are 0-9 this season in games immediately following the matchup with the Panthers. In week eleven, there are two teams on the chopping block: the Falcons and the Bengals. The Bengals played Carolina two weeks prior, but their bye was Week 10. The Falcons play Chicago and the Bengals play in Pittsburgh.

Chicago-Atlanta is a game that could go either way. Sure, Justin Fields has been red hot, but the Falcons seem to be a team that just doesn’t go away. They fight and scrap and as long as Marcus Mariota plays decently, Atlanta stays close and occasionally gets wins they shouldn’t. On the other hand, the Bengals absolutely shouldn’t lose to Pittsburgh. Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry has as many passing touchdowns as Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett. The Bengals are well rested and although they are playing on the road, the Bengals are actually the better team. That said, Pittsburgh has already beaten Cincinnati once this year, thanks to four interceptions from Joe Burrows. This is the only game in which Burrow has ever thrown four interceptions. If you’re the Steelers, you can’t expect the same kind of good luck driving through turnovers, and considering that Cincinnati still took Pittsburgh to overtime in that game, it’s indicative of that. That’s how much bounce the Steelers need to win.

So, if the curse is true and there really is some voodoo lady in Raleigh who speaks of immediate retribution for standing up against her Panthers, which teams benefit the most and the least? Well, obviously, any team that plays a very strong team after the Panthers will be grateful that the curse was wasted on a game they probably would have lost regardless. The Denver Broncos play Carolina in Week 12 then play Baltimore in Week 13. The Seahawks play the Panthers in Week 14 and then get their second matchup against San Francisco. The 49ers have already won their first matchup, so Seattle probably isn’t too thrilled about going into a game that could determine the division winner with an added hurdle. So, with that said, I think the 49ers are the biggest beneficiaries, even though they suffered a curse earlier this year.

I think the team that will have to worry the most is the Detroit Lions. Yeah, they’re not great, but they’ve won two straight divisional games. Even if they don’t reach the playoffs, Lions fans will relish the chance to revel in the fact that they beat both the Bears and the Packers in the same season. Well, guess who the Lions will be playing immediately after facing Carolina in Week 16. That’s right, Chicago Bears. Thankfully this game will take place in Detroit, but if the curse is indeed real, it won’t matter. Detroit would lose that game and then go into their final game of the season with no momentum going into Week 18 against… you guessed it! green Bay Packers. This is tough sledding.

Thankfully this curse should not have any effect on the playoffs. The Panthers play the Saints in the final weeks of the season, and barring any miraculous turnaround, the Saints will not participate in the mid-January rumble. They’re last in the NFC South and still have to face the 49ers, Bucs, Deshaun Watson-led Browns and Eagles, who will all be on the road. If by some miracle the Saints make it into post-season, prepare for disappointment in the Bayou. It won’t be a Cinderella story for long.


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