Sunday review: weather, matchups, etc.

January, 5, 2014
Jan 5
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Carolina Panthers don't know whether they'll face Green Bay or San Francisco in their Jan. 12 playoff game at Bank of America Stadium, but they do know it likely will be a wet one.

Depending on which weather service you depend on, there's anywhere from a 40 to 90 percent chance of rain next Sunday. The good news it is not expected to be a monsoon like there was in the second half of a 17-13 victory over New Orleans the last time the Panthers (12-4) played at home on Dec. 22.

Unlike that day against the fair-weather Saints, the weather in Carolina shouldn't make a difference to either of the potential opponents scheduled to play on Sunday at 4:40 p.m. in Green Bay.

Both have solid running games that can handle a soggy track and quarterbacks -- Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers and San Francisco's Colin Kaepernick -- used to handling adverse weather.

If Carolina quarterback Cam Newton is right, it won't matter who the Panthers play.

"We have to worry about ourselves first," Newton said this past week. "I feel [that] if we are playing at our best, there's really no team that can stop us."

My pick to win and earn a trip to Charlotte remains San Francisco, setting up a rematch of the Nov. 10 game at Candlestick Park in which the Panthers won, 10-9.


Play of the year: Charlotte Observer columnist Scott Fowler asked 16 Carolina players to vote on the team's top play of 2013. They settled on the 19-yard completion to wide receiver Steve Smith on fourth-and-10 from the Carolina 20 with 2:33 remaining at Miami on Nov. 24.

It was significant in that it kept the game-winning drive alive and extended the team's winning streak to seven. It eventually would reach eight.

My pick would have been when the official picked up the flag on linebacker Luke Kuechly's apparent pass interference on tight end Rob Gronkowski in the end zone at the end of a 24-20 Monday night win over New England.

It was significant in several ways. It preserved a win in front of a prime-time audience that legitimized the team as a contender and Newton as a clutch player who could lead his team to a winning touchdown in the closing minutes against a quality team. He had a 25-year touchdown pass to Ted Ginn Jr. with 59 seconds left.

It also showed that this is a season in which a team that seemingly didn't get any breaks the past two seasons finally had things going in a positive way.


McDermott interview: Carolina defensive coordinator Sean McDermott, who was scheduled to interview for the vacant head coaching position with the Washington Redskins on Saturday in Charlotte, has a lot of competition for the job.

The Redskins reportedly were scheduled to interview Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell on Sunday morning and are expected to talk to New York Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell this week.

According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, they also have requested an interview with Vanderbilt coach James Franklin.

Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and Dallas Cowboys special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia reportedly interviewed last week.

David Newton | email

ESPN Carolina Panthers reporter



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