Best-case scenario for Panthers 10-6?

September, 21, 2013
9/21/13
11:00
AM ET
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- From speculation about the future of coach Ron Rivera to the rash of injuries in the secondary it's been a week of doom and gloom for the winless Carolina Panthers.

Even one of the New York Jets took a shot at them.

And the Panthers are playing the N.Y. Giants this week.

So I looked at the rest of the schedule for a positive spin after a reader asked for my best-case scenario on wins for the season. I dug to see if there was a way Carolina could recover from this 0-2 start.

It won't happen, but let's take a look at what happens if all falls right:

N.Y. Giants: The Giants are 0-2 for a reason. The defensive front isn't pressuring the quarterback and the offensive line isn't producing a running game. So what if they beat Carolina 36-7 last year? Win, 1-2

Bye:

At Arizona: Carson Palmer still is the quarterback, right? Win, 2-2

At Minnesota: The Vikings are 0-2 after two games as well. Stop Adrian Peterson and Christian Ponder can't beat you. ... Win. 3-2.

St. Louis: Carolina quarterback Cam Newton gets grief for his 13-21 record. But what about the Rams' Sam Bradford? He's 16-27-1 since being the No. 1 pick of the 2010 draft. Win, 4-2.

At Tampa Bay: The Bucs are 0-2 and at least one player has complained that coach Greg Schiano's coaching methods are too strict. Really? W, 5-2.

Atlanta: The Panthers crushed their division rival late last season and were a fourth-quarter fumble from going 2-0 against them. Atlanta is off to a 1-1 start and the defense remains shaky. W, 6-2.

At San Francisco: This is where we get off this fantasy train. L, 6-3.

New England: A Monday Night game for Carolina, and the Patriots are looking ahead to a big showdown with Denver. Well, they could be. Back to fantasy land. W, 7-3.

At Miami: Still not sold on the Dolphins, who have beaten hapless Cleveland and an Indianapolis team that showed its desperation with the Trent Richardson trade. W, 8-3.

Tampa Bay: They're still the Bucs. W, 9-3.

At New Orleans: Drew Brees. L, 9-4.

N.Y. Jets: Remember what Jets linebacker Antwan Barnes said about Buffalo's Mario Williams getting 4.5 sacks against the Panthers in Week 2? "It's the Panthers we're talking about,'' he said. And these are still the Jets. W, 10-4.

New Orleans: Drew Brees. L, 10-5.

At Atlanta: OK, the Falcons have to take the Panthers serious now. L, 10-6.

Again, it won't happen this way, but the Giants won six straight after an 0-2 start in 2007 and won the Super Bowl.

So for those that choose to believe the glass remains half full, it doesn't have to be all gloom and doom.

David Newton | email

ESPN Carolina Panthers reporter

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