Before his teams Sunday night game in New Orleans, Panthers coach Ron Rivera checked out some of the early games on TV.
While the snow fell in Philadelphia during the Eagles-Lions game, Rivera watched as the field and the NFC playoff picture became a lot messier.
The Panthers loss to the Saints later that day brought the rest of the playoff-chasing pack that much closer to Carolina (9-4), which is seeking its first postseason berth in five years.
It is bunching up in the NFC, Rivera said this week. And a lot of those teams will play each other in the last two or three weeks. The schedulers did a great job.
The Panthers play at home the next two weeks against the New York Jets (6-7) and the NFC South-leading Saints (10-3), who will win the tiebreaker with Carolina if both teams finish 12-4.
The Panthers close the regular season at Atlanta (3-10) on Dec. 29.