At 2-8, Panthers fans everywhere are now well aware of how hard wins have been to come by. But if ever Carolina had a chance to not only win, but do so emphatically, it's this Sunday.
In sizing up 2-8 vs. 0-10, I can't help but rip off a line that has unfortunately been seared into my brain by Geico: "Beating the Colts: So Easy Carolina Can Do It."
By talking about Indianapolis this way, I'm definitely piling on one of the worst teams the NFL has seen in a long time. But at least I admit it, right?
I also have to say I'd feel a whole lot more guilty if it looked like Indianapolis, apparently intent on drafting Andrew Luck No. 1 next April, was trying. Anyway, on to the reasons Carolina should win this one with ease.
For one, look at Indy's record. It's rare that a team is worse than 0-10, but if ever such a statement could be made, it's this year, about Indianapolis. The Colts started the season by getting outscored 34-7 against Houston, then followed that loss with spirited, but losing, efforts against Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Kansas City and Cincinnati.
Then New Orleans hung one of the worst beatings in league history on Indianapolis, winning 62-7 in hopefully the most lopsided nationally televised Sunday night game I will ever see.
The Colts haven't even looked like they have cared since, losing 27-10 to Tennessee, 31-7 to Atlanta and 17-3 to Jacksonville. And it's not like those games were closer than they looked—the Titans led 20-0 at halftime, Atlanta was up 21-0 early in the second quarter and the Jags held Indy to just 212 total yards, an unfathomably low number for any offense, but especially for one as good as the Colts' under Peyton Manning.
This is by no means Carolina's first bad opponent this season, but the Panthers certainly haven't faced anything like Indianapolis. Record-wise, Carolina's worst foe to this point was a 2-8 Minnesota Vikings team that took the Lions to overtime and came within six points of Super Bowl favorite Green Bay in the teams' first meeting.
Forgive me if it seems like I'm rubbing it in and or acting like I have never been nearly certain my team was going to win. It's because as a fan of a team 4-22 in its last 26 games, I've forgotten what it's like to feel this way.