| | Panthers Must Beat Vick and the Falcons Again
Three losses in their past six games has backed the Carolina Panthers (10-5) into a must-win situation at Atlanta on Sunday to guarantee a spot in the playoffs.
"I don't see it as pressure. If we win, we go on. If we lose, we go home," safety Mike Minter said. "Pressure is the other team being on your one-yard line with four tries in the fourth quarter. Preparing for this game isn't pressure, though.
"If everybody does their job and doesn't try to do too much, we're going to be fine."
The Panthers have a 1-9 lifetime record at the Georgia Dome. Their only victory was a 9-6 win in 1997, but history can be changed. Atlanta quarterback Michael Vick was 5-0 lifetime against Carolina entering the first meeting this season but the Panthers sacked him five times while shutting down his running game by holding him to three carries for 36 yards in Carolina's 24-6 win.
A year ago the Panthers needed a win at home against New Orleans to get into the playoffs, but the Panthers instead lost 21-18 to end the year.
"After we lost to New Orleans, it wasn't fun," defensive end Mike Rucker said. "You're kicking yourself because you're disappointed because you fought so hard all year, and to let it slip on you in the last game, that's very disappointing.
"I don't want to have that feeling come Monday morning."