In one of the most bizarre streaks of the year, every team that has faced the Panthers this season has gone on to lose its next game. It doesn't matter what happens when a team plays the Panthers, this only impacts the game after it: No one can win after facing Carolina.
Let's take a quick look at the streak:
- Panthers Week 1 opponent: Browns (Cleveland loses 31-30 to the Jets in Week 2)
- Panthers Week 2 opponent: Giants (New York loses 23-16 to the Cowboys in Week 3)
- Panthers Week 3 opponent: Saints (New Orleans loses 28-25 to the Vikings in Week 4)
- Panthers Week 4 opponent: Cardinals (Arizona loses 20-17 to the Eagles in Week 5)
- Panthers Week 5 opponent: 49ers (San Francisco loses 28-14 to the Falcons in Week 6)
- Panthers Week 6 opponent: Rams (L.A. got a bye in Week 7 and then lost to the 49ers in Week 8)
- Panthers Week 7 opponent: Buccaneers (Tampa Bay loses 27-22 to the Ravens in Week 8)
- Panthers Week 8 opponent: Falcons (Atlanta loses 20-17 to the Chargers in Week 9)
- Panthers Week 9 opponent: Bengals (Bye in Week 10, TBA in Week 11)
- Panthers Week 10 opponent: Falcons (TBA in Week 11)
That's eight teams, and they've gone 0-8 after facing the Panthers.
So why is this happening? I like this guy's theory.
After playing the panthers it must be hard adjusting back to NFL competition— John (@lebaptiste_) November 7, 2022
This streak is taking down everyone. Even teams that have been huge favorites have lost the following week after facing the Panthers. For instance, the Browns were a 6.5-point favorite over the Jets in Week 2, but they blew a 13-point lead in the final two minutes to lose. Let's get a quick refresher on how that happened.
In the final 1:55, the Browns:— Aaron Goldhammer (@HammerNation19) September 18, 2022
- Missed an extra point
- Allowed a wide open 66 yard TD pass on a blown coverage
- Surrendered an onside kick
- Let Joe Flacco walk his team 53 yards for a winning score
- Threw an interception
Good teams don’t do this. Coaches get fired for it
The Browns kicked off the curse with that nightmare loss, and it's been ugly for everyone else ever since.
Besides the Browns, the most surprising losses have come from the 7-2 Giants and the 49ers. The Giants were favored to beat the Cowboys in Week 3, but Cooper Rush led Dallas to a win. As for San Francisco, the 49ers were 4.5-point favorites over the Falcons in Week 6, but the curse of the Panthers got them in a game where Atlanta ended up winning by two touchdowns.
If the Bengals are thinking that the curse isn't going to get them because they had a bye after facing the Panthers, that doesn't appear to help. Just ask the Rams about that. The Rams played the Panthers in Week 6, had a bye in Week 7 and then lost to the 49ers in Week 8.
The Falcons will get the first shot to end this bizarre streak when they host the Bears at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday in a game where they're currently favored by three points. If the Falcons can't break the curse, then it will be up to the Bengals, who will be traveling to Pittsburgh for a 4:25 p.m. ET game where Cincinnati is favored by four points after opening as 5.5-point favorites.
If the curse is still going after Week 11, it might be time to call an exorcist.