Can the Carolina Panthers realistically finish 16-0?

Courtesy of Bob Donnen, USA Today Sports

The Carolina Panthers are now 11-0 and hands-down one of the most exciting teams to follow this season in the NFL.

But can the team manage another five wins and finish 16-0?

Panthers defense end Dwan Edwards believes an undefeated season is well within reach and said as much when he spoke to Joe Person of the The Charlotte Observer.

“It’s going to take us not playing our best for someone to beat us.”

So far this season there is not much to criticize about the Panthers’ stellar performances, and a favorable upcoming schedule could make the dream of an undefeated season become a reality.

Over the next five weeks, the Panthers face the New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons (twice), New York Giants, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. At this time, not one of these NFC teams have won more than six games. And, every one of these upcoming opponent teams have displayed the ability to make some careless, bone-headed plays that have caused them to completely tank games.

Head coach Ron Rivera has experienced what it was like to nearly go undefeated when he played for the Chicago Bears. That team won every game in the 1985 season except for a Monday Night Football matchup against a Dan Marino-led Miami Dolphins.

Rivera, a logical selection for Coach of the Year, could certainly be looking at a perfect regular season considering the middling opponents the team faces down the stretch.

As for the Panthers’ history since becoming an NFL franchise in 1995, the best record the team has managed was 12-4, which was accomplished three times in 2013, 2008 and 1996. At the very least, that record should easily be broken this year, with just one win left to match it.