Thursday December 4th, 2014

Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera said that whichever team wins the NFC South does not need to apologize for its record.

The Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints are tied for the division lead at 5-7, with Carolina in third place at 3-8-1 and in striking distance of both teams despite losing six games in a row.

“Believe me, whichever team (from the NFC South) gets in the playoffs, there's going to be no apologies for it," Rivera said, according to The New Orleans Times-Picayune.

The last division winner to make the playoffs with a losing record was the Seattle Seahawks, who won the NFC West with a 7-9 record in 2010. Seattle then beat the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints in the Wild Card round.

Examining how to fix under .500 teams

"That's all part of the game. You play the game, they fall the way they may. Look at the way New Orleans beat Pittsburgh -- hey, there's no apology needed,” Rivera told the Times-Picayune. “They played a very good football game against a good football team and they ended up winning."

Still, Rivera says that the top three teams in division are better than what their record says.

"I think New Orleans is a good football team, as I do Atlanta -- and I think we're still a good football team," Rivera said, according to the report.

The Panthers play at the Saints this Sunday. 

- Scooby Axson

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