In their 18-year history, the Carolina Panthers have never played a game quite like the one they will play Sunday.
Carolinas game against the Kansas City Chiefs comes only one day after K.C. linebacker Jovan Belcher shot and killed his girlfriend and then himself, according to police. The details are horrifying, and I wont repeat them here.
The obvious question is whether the game should even be played, given that the pain is so fresh and the emotional state that the Kansas City organization and the teams fans have to be in right now. The NFL decreed that it will be played as scheduled at 1 p.m..
That feels somewhat mercenary, although Im OK with it. I dont think postponing the game a few days would make things any better.
But Arrowhead Stadium where the Chiefs havent won all season will be a weird place Sunday. How do you acknowledge the deaths? How will the Kansas City players react? What sort of emotional boomerang will the Panthers feel?
• The Panthers havent won consecutive games all season. But theyll never have a better opportunity. While the Panthers (3-8) have had it bad this season, the Chiefs (1-10) have had it worse. Think of the 2010 version of the Panthers that 2-14 team whose offense couldnt score a TD if it got a turnover inside the opponents 10 and youve got a good feel for the Chiefs.
Kansas City has lost eight in a row, and here are their point totals in the last seven of those games: 6, 10, 16, 13, 13, 6 and 9. They can run the ball decently and they can play defense sometimes, but thats about it. The only way I see Kansas City winning is if Jamaal Charles rushes for more than 200 yards, which is how the Chiefs beat New Orleans earlier this year.
• I have finally edged over .500 on Panthers predictions this season at 6-5 after getting the last three games in a row correct. Going for four straight with this one, which I dont think will be that close even with the effect of Saturdays tragic events: Carolina 28, Kansas City 13.