Faced with 1 percent chance at postseason, Rivera still believes in Panthers

Ron Rivera Saints Panthers Football_1545366941355-873704001

Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera argues a call in the second half of an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints in Charlotte, N.C., Monday, Dec. 17, 2018. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WNCN) – The Carolina Panthers have less than a 1-percent chance to make the postseason. Not only would they have to win their last two games — one of which is a rematch with the New Orleans team that just beat them — they’d need the stars to align with other teams stumbling down the stretch.

And they’ll have to do it without MVP-caliber quarterback Cam Newton.

“Believe or not, there is a slim glimmer,” head coach Ron Rivera said of the slightest bits of hope shining through Carolina’s six-game skid. “We’ll continue to focus in on playing football. We’ve got (the Atlanta Falcons) coming to town, and for all intents and purposes, we play to win.”

That focus on what’s in front of him is how Rivera is managing the chatter about his job security. After making it all the way to Super Bowl 50, the Panthers missed the playoffs entirely the year after. They were bounced in the wild-card game last season and are set to miss out again this year.

“I control what I can, and that’s one day at a time,” Rivera said. “And that, right now, is preparation for Atlanta.”

Rivera has been around the NFL for some time now. He knows from previous experiences how challenging the uncertainty can be. He said that, at the end of the day, it all comes down to owner David Tepper.

At the end of the day, though, Rivera wants to be back next season. A reporter asked him so much at a press conference this week.

“That’s a stupid question. It really is, and I’m not going to answer that one,” he said. “I’m very happy where I am. I really do appreciate my place here on this football team, and in this city, and in this community.”

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