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Panthers are 3-0 for first time in six years; why perfect start typically leads to Super Bowl appearance

CBS Sports logo CBS Sports 9/24/2021 Jeff Kerr
© Provided by CBS Sports

The Carolina Panthers are off to a 3-0 start, the fifth time in franchise history the team has won their first three games of the year. Starting 3-0 has been an excellent omen for Carolina, as the franchise has made deep playoff runs in 75 percent of their perfect starts. 

Carolina last started 3-0 in 2015, using that momentum en route to a 15-1 record and an appearance in Super Bowl 50. The Panthers also started 3-0 in 2003, riding that to an NFC South title and an appearance in Super Bowl XXXVIII. The last two times Carolina started 3-0, the Panthers reached the Super Bowl -- an excellent sign for how this season could turn out. 

The Panthers have played for 27 seasons and have started 3-0 four times. Three of those seasons Carolina has made the NFC Championship Game (1996, 2003, 2015) -- and the other year the Panthers finished 7-9 (2002). Carolina has finished with a top 10 defense in points and yards allowed in each of those seasons the Panthers reached the NFC Championship Game after a 3-0 start -- another good sign for 2021. 

Carolina led the league in points and yards allowed through two games -- and has a strong chance of keeping those rankings after Week 3. The Panthers allowed just nine points and 193 yards in a 24-9 victory over the Houston Texans, below the season averages in points (10.5) allowed and just above the season average in yards allowed (190). 

The Panthers have allowed 573 total yards through three games, the lowest total for any team since the 2008 Baltimore Ravens (568). Only the 2021 Panthers, 2008 Ravens, and 2006 San Diego Chargers have allowed fewer than 600 total yards this century through three games. 

All signs are pointing toward a potentially special season for the Panthers. History is certainly on their side.


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