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Undefeated Panthers Join Elite Company
The Carolina Panthers are 10-0 for the first time in franchise history and will face the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day (CBS, 4:30 PM ET). Dating back to last season, the Panthers have won 14 consecutive regular-season games, the longest active streak in the NFL.
Carolina, who will play on the holiday for the first time in franchise history, will join the 2011 Green Bay Packers (10-0) as the only teams in the Super Bowl era to play on Thanksgiving Day with a 10-0 record or better.
"It's an honor to get to play on Thanksgiving," says Panthers quarterback CAM NEWTON, who tied a franchise record with five touchdown passes in last week's 44-16 win over Washington. "It feels great to be 10-0. But we have a short week and we've got to get ready for Dallas."
At 10-0, the Panthers have joined some elite company. Entering 2015, 15 teams started a season 10-0 during the Super Bowl era. Of those 15 clubs, all 15 qualified for the playoffs, nine advanced to the Super Bowl and six of those teams won the Super Bowl.
A look at the teams in the Super Bowl era to start 10-0:
|Los Angeles Rams||1969||11-0||11-3||Advanced to Conference Championship|
|Miami Dolphins||1972||14-0||14-0||Won Super Bowl VII|
|Minnesota Vikings||1975||10-0||12-2||Advanced to Divisional Playoffs|
|Miami Dolphins||1984||11-0||14-2||Advanced to Super Bowl XIX|
|Chicago Bears||1985||12-0||15-1||Won Super Bowl XX|
|New York Giants||1990||10-0||13-3||Won Super Bowl XXV|
|San Francisco 49ers||1990||10-0||14-2||Advanced to Conference Championship|
|Washington Redskins||1991||11-0||14-2||Won Super Bowl XXVI|
|Denver Broncos||1998||13-0||14-2||Won Super Bowl XXXIII|
|Indianapolis Colts||2005||13-0||14-2||Advanced to Divisional Playoffs|
|New England Patriots||2007||16-0||16-0||Advanced to Super Bowl XLII|
|Tennessee Titans||2008||10-0||13-3||Advanced to Divisional Playoffs|
|Indianapolis Colts||2009||14-0||14-2||Advanced to Super Bowl XLIV|
|New Orleans Saints||2009||13-0||13-3||Won Super Bowl XLIV|
|Green Bay Packers||2011||13-0||15-1||Advanced to Divisional Playoffs|
|New England Patriots||2015||??||??||??|
"The biggest thing we have to understand is that we have to maintain our focus," says Panthers head coach RON RIVERA about being 10-0. "Teams are going to come in and give us their best shot so we have to respond by playing our best."
The Panthers, who finished the 2014 season with a 7-8-1 record, are the first team in the Super Bowl era to start 10-0 in the season following a losing campaign.
Carolina Panthers (10-0) at Dallas Cowboys (3-7)
(Thursday, CBS, 4:30 PM ET)
In a season of firsts for the franchise, the Panthers, who are 10-0 for the first-time ever, will play their first Thanksgiving Day game. Carolina quarterback CAM NEWTON threw a career-high five touchdown passes last week, tying the single-game team record. Newton, who has 102 passing touchdowns and 39 rushing touchdowns, is the only player in NFL history with at least 100 passing touchdowns and 25 rushing touchdowns in his first five seasons.
"It's an honor to get to play on Thanksgiving," says Newton.
The Cowboys are 29-17-1 on Thanksgiving and have won six of their past nine on the holiday. Dallas quarterback TONY ROMO, who returned last week to lead the Cowboys to a 24-14 win at Miami, is 4-0 in his career against Carolina and 6-2 as the starter on Thanksgiving. Romo, who is 3-0 as the starting quarterback this season, connected with wide receiver DEZ BRYANT on the pair's 50th career touchdown pass last week, surpassing Pro Football Hall of Famers TROY AIKMAN and MICHAEL IRVIN for the most by a QB-WR duo in team history.
New England Patriots (10-0) at Denver Broncos (8-2)
(Sunday, NBC, 8:30 PM ET)
On Sunday night, New England and Denver -- AFC rivals and division leaders -- meet in primetime.
The Patriots are 10-0 for the second time in franchise history (2007). On Monday night, New England defeated Buffalo 20-13 as running back JAMES WHITE rushed for a touchdown and caught a touchdown pass from quarterback TOM BRADY. Brady reached 25 touchdown passes in a season for the 11th time, tied with BRETT FAVRE for the second-most seasons in NFL history (PEYTON MANNING, 16).
The Broncos are 8-2 and lead the AFC West. Last week in Chicago, quarterback BROCK OSWEILER completed 20 of 27 passes (74.1 percent) for 250 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions for a 127.1 passer rating in the Broncos' 17-15 win over the Bears. Osweiler, who turned 25 years old on Sunday, is the only quarterback in the Super Bowl era to make his first career start and win on his birthday.
"Winning tastes great," says Denver linebacker VON MILLER. "Nothing tastes like it. It was a great win."
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