Halfway through his weekly press conference Monday, Panthers coach Ron Rivera was asked about facing Peyton Manning this week.
Well, I wanted to enjoy this a little bit longer, Rivera said, smiling.
The Panthers (2-6) snapped a five-game losing streak with Sunday's 21-13 win at Washington, their first victory since Sept. 16.
Rivera praised the play of his defense, saying they have come together following the season-ending injuries to linebacker Jon Beason and cornerback Chris Gamble. The Panthers kept Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III in check, but face another challenge when Manning and the Broncos come to town.
The Manning storyline figures to be overshadowed by the return of former Panthers coach John Fox, who led Denver to a playoff win last year and has the Broncos (5-3) in first place in the AFC West.
Rivera, who has said the Panthers need to trend upward to keep his job under the next general manager, already is trying to downplay the Fox talk.
I know Coach Fox. I have a little bit of background with him. But the nice thing about that though is that he and I don't have to go out and line up on the field, Rivera said.
This week is about the players playing against each other. It'll be our offense against their defense, (our) defense against (their) offense and our special teams playing against one another. Just from my point of view, the less we say about that the better. I really think this is about the players.
As for the Panthers' players, Rivera had a couple of personnel updates.
--Kick returner Kealoha Pilares will undergo an MRI on his shoulder Tuesday after getting injured in the second half against the Redskins.
--Pilares' status could impact the decision on WR David Gettis, who started the season on the physically unable to perform list with a shoulder injury. Gettis has been practicing and must be activated by Tuesday or he will finish the season on PUP.
--No. 2 wideout Brandon LaFell will be back this week after missing Sunday's game with post-concussion symptoms.