NFL 2015: Carolina Panthers Search for Destiny and Other Thoughts

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Cam Newton

How much longer will the Carolina Panthers play their major stars before the playoffs?

There is a bit of a double edged sword here with a team looking at destiny, but is on the road to the post season and taking aim at the franchise’s first ever Super Bowl win. How will head coach Ron Rivera play his hand the next couple of weeks?

Carolina has a first-round bye in the playoffs and could rest quarterback Cam Newton and defensive stars before the end of the season. I personally hope there is no slowdown, but injuries are a concern. My fantasy football team is dependent on Newton playing this coming week. If Rivera is listening, continue to play your starters and let history come to you.

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Seriously, however, how does a team that may be the most obscure 14-0 team in NFL history stack up against other teams that have flirted with destiny? Is this the new version of the 1971 Miami Dolphins? The Panthers have mega stars on the roster, but lack the respect other teams that have fared worse in tis climb toward perfection. Does the color of the jersey and the logo on the helmet mean that much in terms of notoriety?

NO MANNING HERE

It looks like the Denver Broncos are going to stick with Brock Osweiler, according to coach Gary Kubiak.

The Broncos lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers last week, prompting some to write that Peyton Manning might be set to return to the lineup this week.

For now, as Kubiak puts it, everything is status quo.

“We’ll have a plan in place when we get to Wednesday, and we’ll go to work,” said Kubiak, noting that Denver would be “starting from scratch” this week in deciding whether Osweiler or veteran Peyton Manning would suit up for next Monday night’s critical tilt with the Cincinnati Bengals.

The Broncos have seen the future with Osweiler, who replaced Manning behind center when it was determined that the future Hall of Famer passer had a foot injury that rendered him almost immobile in the Broncos offense.

Osweiler did suffer a sore shoulder in the loss to Pittsburgh, but that has not stopped him from practicing with the team this week. Sidelined since Week 11 with a torn plantar fascia in his left foot, Manning practiced for the first time last week before the Broncos deactivated him against the Steelers.

ROBINSON A PRO BOWL SNUB

While not every player can be added to the Pro Bowl roster, I am more than upset over the fact the Jaguars Allen Robinson has been left off the list to go to Hawaii. No Jaguars players were added to the squad. Robinson is amongst the league leaders in pass receptions and has 13 touchdowns this year.

The Jaguars, who sit with a 5-9 record this season, should have had some consideration with their offense, especially with Robinson’s break out season in his second year in the league.

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Robinson wasn’t the only player who was having a stellar season and missed being included. Sean Lee of Dallas was also left off the roster.

But the focus here is on Robinson who is one of the emerging stars in the league on a team that has shown offensive improvement this season.

As Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com explains…

Breakout years are too often ignored by Pro Bowl voters comfortable with big names. And this was Robinson’s breakout season, with 1,141 yards and 13 scores thus far. He is one of the best at high-pointing the ball in tight coverage and is statistically the best big playmaker in the league. He has 26 plays over 20 yards. No other receiver has more than 21 such plays. The receiver position is stacked this year, but Robinson had a better season than Calvin Johnson.

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