The cynic would say this weekend is no different from most weekends the Panthers have had in this stunted start of a season.
It’s an off weekend.
They’ve been off, all right.
If you saw this 1-4 start coming, you have a darker imagination than filmmaker Tim Burton. Just when you thought it couldn’t get worse than the Tampa loss, there was the blowout loss to the New York Giants.
Just when you thought the loss to the Falcons was cruel, Cam Newton threw a bounce pass to Ben Hartsock, providing an ugly end to an ugly loss to Seattle.
So now the Panthers and their disappointed fan base have a free weekend to stew about all that’s gone wrong and all that’s probably not going to happen around here in January.
But is this really a lost season already, even before the turducken has been bought?
Let’s see what happens when the Cowboys come to town next weekend.
KANSAS CITY at TAMPA BAY: On the NFL buffet this weekend, this one’s the cottage cheese. Bucs 20, Chiefs 17.
INDIANAPOLIS at NEW YORK JETS: Andrew Luck gives the Jets a lesson in picking quarterbacks. Colts 24, Jets 13.
CINCINNATI at CLEVELAND: I always get confused. Which one’s which? Bengals 24, Browns 17.
DETROIT at PHILADELPHIA: If Michael Vick makes many more turnovers, he’s going to turn his job over to another quarterback. Eagles 26, Lions 23.
OAKLAND at ATLANTA: Allow me to recycle what I said about the Falcons last week – they’re not going to go undefeated this season. But this isn’t one they’re going to lose. Falcons 37, Raiders 20.
ST. LOUIS at MIAMI: Two teams that are better than expected so far. Not that anyone expected much from either of them. Dolphins 24, Rams 21.
DALLAS at BALTIMORE: Tony Romo doesn’t have many friends among Cowboys fans right now. But I’m guessing he’ll have plenty when he and the Cowboys show up at Bank of America Stadium next Sunday dragging their losing streak with them. Ravens 30, Cowboys 20.
BUFFALO at ARIZONA: If you’re into stats, you might know the Bills have allowed at least 550 yards to their opponent in each of the last two games. That hasn’t happened since before color television. Good thing the Bills spent all that money and effort in the offseason to upgrade the defense. Cardinals 34, Bills 14.
NEW ENGLAND at SEATTLE: The Seahawks have a very good defense. Just ask Cam Newton. The Patriots have a very good offense. Just ask anyone. If it comes down to Russell Wilson against Tom Brady, well…Patriots 28, Seahawks 21.
NEW YORK GIANTS at SAN FRANCISCO: If the 49ers are as good as they seem to be – and right now they look better than free money – they can prove it against the G-Men. 49ers 31, Giants 24.
MINNESOTA at WASHINGTON: The Redskins’ No. 1 priority needs to be keeping RG3 healthy. Vikings 24, Redskins 14.
GREEN BAY at HOUSTON: The Packers at 2-3 may be as big a mystery as the Panthers. Wonder how funny those discount double-check commercials are going to be when the Packers are 2-4. Texans 29, Packers 20.
DENVER at SAN DIEGO: This should be fun if you like touchdown passes. Chargers 41, Broncos 31.
Last week: 10-3