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Derek Anderson helps Panthers reach first place

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It wasn't pretty but the Carolina Panthers outlasted the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 19-17 to win in Week 15. Here's what you need to know:

1. The Panthers aren't just alive in the NFC South. They are in first place, at least until New Orleans plays on Monday night. It's quite possible that Panthers-Falcons in Week 17 will decide the division.

2. Derek Anderson would be a quality starter in the NFL if he only had to play against Tampa. Anderson is 2-0 on the season, with both wins coming against the Buccaneers. He made a number of quality throws, and had his usual misfires. He got the ball to Kelvin Benjamin and Greg Olsen, who both topped 100 yards.

Much like the season opener, the Panthers should have won this game easier. They racked up 390 yards on offense and forced three turnovers, but they kept blowing opportunities to make the game more comfortable. (A Jonathan Stewart fumble on the goal line was especially harmful.)

3. Panthers defensive end Charles Johnson absolutely took the game over the third quarter, seemingly hitting Josh McCown or a Bucs running back on every snap. Which reminds me: The Buccaneers' offensive line is the very worst in the NFL.

4. It's unclear if Cam Newton will return to action in Week 16. Anderson showed the Panthers could win even if Newton is out another week. 

The latest Around The NFL Podcast recaps every Sunday game from Week 15 and discusses all the playoff implications. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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