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Rivera: 'No apologies' needed from NFC South winner

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The Carolina Panthers have three wins after 12 games.

The Carolina Panthers can still make the playoffs.

No, seriously, they can.

If you mess around with our Playoff Predictor long enough, wonderful, magical things can start to happen -- especially in the woebegone NFC South.

There are several instances in which the Panthers win out, while watching the Saints and Falcons crater, which would get Carolina in the playoffs. Truth be told, the Panthers could even squeak into the postseason with a 5-9-2 record (who doesn't love ties?)

Heck, I can even get the currently two-win Buccaneers into January with the right moves!

It's a sad, but fun exercise trying to see the lowest record you can get to win the NFC South. However, as Panthers coach Ron Rivera said Wednesday, the team that makes it won't ask for forgiveness.

"Believe me, whichever team (from the NFC South) gets in the playoffs, there's going to be no apologies for it," Rivera said, per The Times-Picayune. "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. They played a very good football game against a good football team and they ended up winning."

Winning is what the Panthers need to do Sunday against the Saints to keep their playoff hopes alive. OK, OK, OK, OK, OK, fine, a tie could technically work, too. (How sad is that? But no apologies!)

The latest Around The NFL Podcast previews Cowboys-Bears and reacts to Brian Hoyer earning the nod over Johnny Manziel. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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