Panthers Fans' Guide to Bye Week NFL Football

The Carolina Panthers are on their bye week but there is still plenty of football worth watching in Week 12. These are the top games to tune in for.

Cleveland at Atlanta (1 PM, CBS)

For at least one day, Panthers fans should root for the Cleveland Browns. The Atlanta Falcons currently sit atop the NFC South and loss to the Browns would be a huge boost for Carolina.

In year's past this would seemingly be a no contest however the Browns have had a resurgence this year led by quarterback Brian Hoyer. The journeyman quarterback has been playing very well this season and with the rookie tandem of Terrance West and Isaiah Crowell the offense controls the game and plays grind-it-out type games.

This certainly does not fit into Atlanta's gameplan who has struggled on defense and is one of the big reasons they have a record under .500. The Falcons are home for this game and will be looking for big plays with wide receivers Julio Jones and Roddy White.


Baltimore vs. New Orleans (Monday 8:30 PM, ESPN)

This is another game that Panthers fans will want to watch closely, which is actually on Monday night this week. If the Browns are able to beat the Falcons, the Saints would actually take over first place in the division. However a loss to the Ravens would make that lead short lived.

The Saints are usually a tough team to beat at home inside the dome, however they have lost the last two weeks with both games at home. They also needed to go to overtime to beat the Tampa Bay Bucs in Week 5. 

Similar to the Falcons, the Saints defense has not played well and Drew Brees has struggled to put enough points on the board to get them the win.

It won't be any easier this week with the Ravens ranking in the Top 10 in total yards as they have gotten back to their formula that won them a Super Bowl in the very stadium they are playing in Monday night. Rookie C.J. Mosley has provided stability at middle linebacker that has been missing since Ray Lewis retired.

Offensively, Joe Flacco has rebounded from a lackluster 2013 season and has already thrown for over 2,500 yards, 17 touchdowns and only eight interceptions.One of the reasons for Flacco's resurgence has been the addition of Steve Smith, who is the team's leading receiver in receptions and yards.


Green Bay vs. Minnesota (1 PM, FOX)

This game has the potential to get out of hand quickly so if Panthers fans wants to see next week's opponent, Minnesota Vikings, in a competitive game they should tune in early.Right now, the Packers are looking like one of the better teams in the NFL and an offensive juggernaut.

It is going to be an interesting match-up because the Vikings have a decent defense, currently ranked 11th in the NFL, however the question lies on the offensive side of the ball with no Adrian Peterson and rookie QB Teddy Bridgewater. Are they going to be able to put the points necessary to compete with the Packers?

The Vikings right now are only averaging 18 points per game compared to the Packers 33 points per game, which is best in the game. There has been only two games all season that the Packers scored less than 18 points and currently are riding back-to-back 50+ point games.

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