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NFL relevance making Carolina Panthers nervous

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Jeff Siner - jsiner@charlotteobserver.com
Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera said Friday his team exhibited some nerves, playing out as missed assignments and mental errors, ahead of Sunday’s game at San Francisco. He said the nerves show the importance with which his team is approaching the game.

With relevance comes attention, and for the Carolina Panthers, that attention may have led to a show of nerves Friday.

Panthers coach Ron Rivera said he noticed his players practicing nervously Friday morning, which he characterized as making mental mistakes and missing assignments.

“I said, ‘Hey guys, let’s focus back in. We’re a little nervous, we made some mistakes that we normally don’t. Let’s focus in and that’s what we’re trying to do,’” Rivera said. “We’re trying to emphasize it’s another game.”

The Panthers (5-3) will play the 49ers (6-2) on Sunday in one of the biggest games in Week 10 in the NFL. Carolina’s four consecutive wins have brought more national attention, and each day Rivera has tried to stress to his players that Sunday’s contest against San Francisco is the biggest only because it’s the next game on the schedule.

Despite his players’ nerves, Rivera said it wasn’t necessarily a bad omen for Sunday.

“It’s a good omen because to me they realize how important it is,” he said. “The important thing is pulling them back. Settle down, bringing them back to focus. It can be a bad omen but again, making sure we bring them back to focus.”

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