CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The Panthers have a red hot quarterback, a stifling defense and - finally - a winning record following a three-game win streak.
Momentum is on their side.
And that's a good thing for the Panthers (4-3), who are entering a challenging stretch of November games against division rival Atlanta, San Francisco, New England and Miami.
Critics may contend that Carolina's wins have come against four dreadful teams with a combined 5-22 record, but coach Ron Rivera doesn't care.
Rivera says "It doesn't matter what others think because the truth of the matter is how we feel about ourselves - and we feel pretty good about who we are."
Quarterback Cam Newton says "the meat of the schedule" is coming up and it's crucial to maintain momentum.