The Carolina Panthers started the season 0-2 and in the loss to Tampa Bay lost running back Christian McCaffrey to a high ankle sprain. Immediately hearing the news, it felt like the Panthers were about to snowball downhill without their best player. Instead, Carolina found a way to rattle off three straight victories thanks to the play of Mike Davis filling in his place.
Now, the Panthers have seen that winning streak snapped and are now on a two-game losing streak after falling to the Chicago Bears and New Orleans Saints. As crazy it is to say heading into week eight of the regular season, the Carolina Panthers are still very much in the playoff picture. In those two losses, Mike Davis has been bottled up and has essentially made Carolina a one dimensional offense.
The good news is that McCaffrey is close to returning and is "pushing to play" this Thursday vs the Falcons, according to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network. At the same time, it doesn't seem likely that he will take the field.
Last week, we released a "realistic timeline" for McCaffrey's return, which had the Thursday night game vs Atlanta being the earliest he would return, but next week at Kansas City being more likely.
The Panthers will have just three days to prepare for the Atlanta Falcons who will come to Charlotte off a devastating loss to the Detroit Lions. Kickoff between the Panthers and Falcons is set for 8:20 p.m.
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