After last week's loss to Kansas City, Panthers coach Ron Rivera said, "We've put our backs completely against the wall. There is no room for error."
All and all, the Saints' backs are against the wall as well, though not quite as rigidly as the Panthers'. The Panthers are 3 and 6. The Saints 4 and 5. Only four teams have rallied from a 3 and 6 record to make the playoffs since the field was expanded in 1990. The Panthers probably need to sweep their remaining seven games to become the fifth. That would be a tall order, considering Carolina will hit the road to face Oakland and Seattle the next two weeks.
The Saints stay home for the next two weeks to face the Rams and the Lions in their only two-game homestand of the season. But there is little reason to look ahead for Thursday night's loser. Both the Saints and the Panthers suffered last-minute defeats this past Sunday. Each is faced with the challenge of recovering psychologically and physically in a very short week.
That challenge is great for both. Neither is mathematically eliminated from the playoffs with a loss. Realistically is a whole other story.
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