Davis might face test against Cards

The Cards are the 17th ranked run defense in the league, but they have been surprisingly good at home.

Updated: December 8, 2003, 1:20 PM ET
By By Darrell Trimble | NFL Insider
The Carolina Panthers have gone from a Super Bowl contender to a team whose playoff hopes are in some question.

Not that the Panthers' three-game losing streak will prohibit them from reaching the postseason. They have a two-game lead in their division over the Saints and the Bucs, and have swept both, meaning that even if New Orleans or Tampa Bay would win its remaining games, the Panthers would have to lose all three of their games. Given the fact that their opponents, Arizona, Detroit and the New York Giants, have a combined .282 winning percentage (11-28), that's highly unlikely.

But the Panthers should be worried about how they are playing. Though this is a defensively driven team, their offense was predicated on a strong running game and timely passing from quarterback Jake Delhomme. But over the last three weeks that hasn't been the case. Sunday night against the Atlanta Falcons running back Stephen Davis gained 81 yards on 24 carries.