The Carolina Panthers start to the bye week has produced more disappointment following the two-game losing streak that has pushed to the outside looking in at the NFC playoffs. On Monday, running back Christian McCaffrey was deemed out for the season with an unspecified leg injury which has left many confused and wondering about the future of the star running back. Tuesday shifted the focus to the other side of the football when Donte Jackson was placed on the IR with a groin injury.
The North Carolina Tar Heels closed out their 2021 regular season with a collapse against the NC State Wolfpack on Friday night that closed out an extremely disappointing season overall. Tar Heel kicker Grayson Atkins nailed a 50-yard field goal with 2:12 remaining to take a 30-21 and seemingly put the game away, but the Tar Heels would allow the Wolfpack to score twice within the final two minutes to complete one of the worst collapses in college football history.
Coming into last Sunday reunion game in Bank of America Stadium with the Washington Football Team, the Carolina Panthers had some high hopes about the remainder of the 2021-22 season and who could blame them. The team had just brought back arguably the most iconic figure in the history of the franchise and then proceed to go on the road to Arizona and take down one of the NFL best teams in dominant fashion.
The Panthers currently have the eighth toughest remaining schedule based on winning percentage down the stretch of the season, headlined by the brutal four game stretch to finish the season. That stretch makes Sunday's game in Miami for the Panthers as important as just about any game this season for the Panthers as they look to make a playoff push at the direction of the Cam Newton. Earlier today Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk joined the Mac Attack and described just how important this game is for the Panthers.
Amazingly, this weekend is the final weekend of the college football regular season and among the matchups that will headline rivalry weekend will be a matchup between the Clemson Tigers and South Carolina Gamecocks that feels much more competitive than in years past. The Tigers have rebounded from a tough 2-2 start to the season and are now in position to still find their way into a NY6 bowl game, while the Gamecocks will enter the game off a huge upset win over Auburn that makes them bowl eligible in Shane Beamer's first season in Columbia. Not only does Matt Hayes of Saturday Down South, who stopped by with the Mac Attack earlier this morning, believe that the Gamecocks can keep it close, he thinks they have a legitimate chance to pull the upset thanks to Beamer.
Sunday afternoon was supposed to be another perfect chapter to the story of Cam Newton's return to Carolina. The first drive of the game provided a lot of promise for those thoughts, as the Panther offense drove straight down the field to take the early 7-0 lead on a Cam Newton 10-yard touchdown pass to D.J. Moore. However, after that, the Panthers were in a battle with a Washington Football Team that many expected would roll over in the crazy environment that was Bank of America Stadium on Sunday. Instead, Washington was able to move the football up and down the field against the Panthers, finishing with 369 yards of total offense, including 190 on the ground.
In a press conference earlier this week, North Carolina Tar Heels head football coach Mack Brown said that this was going to be quarterback Sam Howell's final game in Kenan Stadium on Saturday afternoon when they face the Wofford Terriers for Senior Day. While Howell said later in the week that he has not made an official decision on that yet, it seems likely that with him looking like he is going to go in the first round of this year's NFL Draft that the Tar Heels will be searching for a new signal-caller ahead of next year's crucial fourth year under Brown second tenure in Chapel Hill.
The Hornets continued their hot streak on Wednesday night, taking down the Washington Wizards, 97-87, giving them their fourth straight win overall and their second consecutive win over a conference leader. While the Hornets scoring has dropped to an average of 106.3 points per game during the win streak, the Hornets defense has cranked it up on the defensive end of the floor, allowing just 98.3 points per game to opponents during that span.
The Charlotte Hornets entered last Wednesday's game with the Memphis Grizzlies on a five game losing streak and were in need of a win to get something out of the road trip. Since that point, they have responded to real off three straight wins including a huge win at home over the Warriors on Sunday. Radio voice of the Hornets, Sam Farber, joined the Mac Attack earlier today to talk about the win and pointed to a big second half from one of the veterans in this one.
For Carolina Panther fans, this past week still probably feels like a dream and rightfully so, especially after Sunday. As former Panther and current NFL on FOX analyst Greg Olsen said on Friday on the FNZ airwaves, this Cam Newton-Carolina Panthers reunion was something that most never saw coming and that no one could have imagined happening so quickly either. Newton signed a one-year deal with the team on Thursday and traveled to Arizona in a game where most didn't even know if he was going to be active and felt he would be extremely limited if he was. Newton was pretty limited playing just eight snaps in the game, but no one could have predicted the course of how things would happen on Sunday.