The Carolina Panthers went into the 2024 NFL season brimming with hope. After managing a 7-10 record last season despite a quarterback carousel and a 1-5 start to the year, the Panthers traded up to draft former Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young with the first overall pick in the draft.
Plugging a budding star like Young into the game’s most important position seemed like a great way for the Panthers to win their first NFC South division crown since 2015, but instead the opposite has occurred. The Panthers sit in last place in the division with a miserable 1-12 record, and Young hasn’t looked like the kind of player one builds around to this point in his career.
With practically nothing left to cheer for, most fans of the Panthers can’t wait for the season to be over. We still have four weeks of the regular season left, though, and a loaded playoff slate beyond that, so here’s a look at some of the best NFL games to keep an eye on through the rest of the season.
Cowboys vs Bills, December 17
First on the list is the marquee matchup for this upcoming week. Both the Dallas Cowboys and the Buffalo Bills entered this year with serious hopes of hoisting the Lombardi Trophy at season’s end. The Cowboys have been as advertised, playing to a 10-3 record with a dominant win over the Philadelphia Eagles, their hated division rival, on Sunday Night Football last week.
The Bills, on the other hand, have had a trying start to the year, struggling to a 7-6 record despite a roster loaded with playmakers. Buffalo managed to steal a win over the always-dominant Kansas City Chiefs last week, and they’ll need a repeat performance against Dallas to keep their playoff hopes alive.
The Cowboys boast one of the best defenses in the entire league, and it’ll be a real treat to see players like Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs tee off against them. Cowboys’ quarterback Dak Prescott, meanwhile, is firmly in the MVP race right now and could make himself a frontrunner for the award with another great showing against Buffalo on the road.
Right now, the sportsbooks like the Bills’ chances of beating the Cowboys in Buffalo, as they’re listed as -2.5 favorites at most sports betting sites. Be sure to use one of these North Carolina Betting Promos if you want to bet on the Bills or the Cowboys so that you know you’re locking in the best possible odds of winning big.
As an added treat, the Cowboys play the high-powered Miami Dolphins the following week on Christmas Eve, so it’s a good idea to keep an eye on what Dallas is doing these next two weeks, as there could be plenty of offensive fireworks.
Ravens vs 49ers, December 25
The Ravens, much like the Cowboys, have a pair of matchups to keep an eye on over the holidays. Right now, Baltimore is the top seeded team in the AFC; the Niners are the top seeded team in the NFC, making this a very likely Super Bowl preview.
Both the Ravens and the Niners are incredibly balanced, brimming with offensive talent and backing it up with punishing defensive play. What better way to close out your Christmas than a true heavyweight matchup in prime time?
Unfortunately, for the Ravens, their schedule doesn’t get much easier. They’re slated to host the Dolphins the following week, a matchup that will likely determine who gets home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Be sure to tune in to the Ravens over the coming weeks to see how the AFC playoff picture unfolds.
Bills vs Dolphins, January 7
Last but not least is this rivalry matchup that could determine who wins the AFC East. The Bills beat the Dolphins in convincing fashion earlier this year: even though they’re two games back right now, Miami’s difficult schedule coming up means the Bills could quickly make up that deficit.
Normally, Week 18 matchups can be a bit of a snooze fest as teams that have already locked up a playoff spot rest their starters for the stretch run. If both Miami and Buffalo have something to play for in this game, though, we could get an all-time moment in a legendary rivalry.
Miami has been the better team for much of this season, but the Bills crushed them 48-20 in Buffalo. Can Josh Allen and company double down on their dominance to secure a home playoff game?
In the world of NFL, it’s crucial to understand the teams in focus. The Dallas Cowboys, known for their strong offense and standout quarterback Dak Prescott, have been living up to their reputation with a 10-3 record. On the other side, the Buffalo Bills, with playmakers like Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs, are aiming to recover from a challenging start at 7-6.
The Baltimore Ravens, led by star quarterback Lamar Jackson, currently hold the top seed in the AFC. Meanwhile, the San Francisco 49ers, with a balanced roster, are dominating the NFC. Familiarizing yourself with these teams’ key players and strengths will enhance your game-watching experience.
As the NFL season progresses, each game becomes more critical, with playoff implications looming large. The Dallas Cowboys vs. Buffalo Bills matchup could significantly impact their playoff seeding and aspirations. Similarly, the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers clash in a game that could offer a glimpse into a potential Super Bowl showdown.
Keep an eye on the Buffalo Bills vs. Miami Dolphins game in January, as it may decide the AFC East champion. Understanding the playoff implications of these games adds depth to your viewing experience, as you’ll grasp the high stakes and postseason possibilities on the line.
Injuries can significantly impact the outcome of NFL games. Stay informed about the latest injury updates for key players on these teams. Are there star players who might be sidelined or playing through injuries? Understanding the injury landscape provides insights into the potential strengths and weaknesses of each team.
For instance, the availability of star quarterbacks like Dak Prescott or Lamar Jackson can make a significant difference in the outcome of their respective games. Keeping an eye on injury updates is a smart way to stay ahead in your NFL game-watching experience, as it helps you anticipate how injuries may shape the games’ dynamics.