The New Orleans Saints have already clinched a playoff spot and at least one postseason home game and they're on pace to set the all-time total offense record Sunday if they can gain 219 yards, breaking the record set by the 2000 St. Louis Rams.
That's not necessarily the focal point for the Panthers, entering their regular-season finale against the Saints.
"I have no clue what's going on with that. I know their record (12-3)," defensive end Greg Hardy said.
"That really doesn't affect me, man. It's another week."
Head coach Ron Rivera said he's been pleased with how his team has approached the final week of practice knowing there's no postseason for the Panthers.
"You really want to come out and play them the best you can because of what we're trying to build and the attitude we're trying to have. To lose now would be disappointing," Rivera said.
"I think our guys have done a nice job. They've practiced well. I'm pretty excited about that, especially going into the last game ... just trying to get them to understand we can make an impact in the playoffs. We may not be in but we can certainly impact them."
That gets Hardy's attention.
"That's what everybody's shooting for," Hardy said. "If you're not getting in the playoffs, you just want to be talked about. Get mentioned a few times, throw 'em off, set 'em back. Mess up some of their positioning. I'm cool with that."
Rivera reacts: After learning more details surrounding the reported theft of four guns from the car of special teams player Kion Wilson this week, Rivera said he hopes similar situations can be avoided in the future.
"I'm satisfied. Obviously, you don't want anybody having guns or anything like that," Rivera said.
"The explanation I got was a sensible one. I think he understands. He knows better. Hopefully we won't have that issue reoccur with anybody."
Rivera praised the NFL for its efforts in educating the players on a variety of issues, including gun ownership.
"I think the things that are offered to the players as far as making sure they know the proper handling and the rules that are in place, I think the league has done an outstanding job trying to make sure these guys understand these rules," he said.
Injury update: Rivera said an extra day between games should help defensive end Charles Johnson who has been limited by a back injury in recent weeks. Johnson missed practice again Thursday but hopes to play against New Orleans on Sunday.
Because of the back problem, Johnson was used primarily on third down against Tampa Bay last Saturday.
"This week having the extra day has done him some good. We just want to be careful. We can afford to be patient with him," Rivera said.
Defensive tackle Andre Neblett missed practice again Thursday as did safety Jordan Pugh due to concussion symptoms. Safety Charles Godfrey (shoulder) practiced on a limited basis. Offensive tackle Travelle Wharton was excused from practice Thursday for personal reasons.
If Neblett is unable to play, he will be replaced by Ogemdi Nwagbuo.
Kicking update: Rivera said he is pleased with how kicker Olindo Mare has responded to the competition with Adi Kunalic in practice since Kunalic was added to the roster earlier this month after Mare missed a critical field goal against Atlanta.
Mare has kept the placekicking job, making field goals of 19 and 21 yards against the Bucs last week.
"I think he's handled it very well," Rivera said. "I think bringing Adi back has maybe helped him to refocus. The intent is this is a guy we liked, Adi, coming out of camp and we're trying to keep him. We just couldn't. Now we thought just bring him and work the competition.
"It's a tough position. (Mare is) a veteran guy who's made a lot of kicks in the past. We just hope to learn from the experience and get better."
Applewhite's future: Defensive end Antwan Applewhite said he's had no discussions with the Panthers yet about a new contract after joining the team as a free agent in early October.
Applewhite has 19 total tackles including two sacks and one forced fumble.
"I'm just trying to finish out the season strong and after the season see where things go," Applewhite said.
"With what I can do at different positions, I think it would be a good fit. I love the team and the coaching staff. We'll see what happens."