Maybe the Cam Newton won’t end up dancing on giant piano keys at a FAO Schwartz like Tom Hanks in BIG, but Ron Rivera might have a few things in common with Zoltar the fortune-teller.
Rivera has turned the Panthers around this season, breaking off a 9-1 stretch following a 1-3 start to the year and even earning himself the nickname “Riverboat Ron” for his riverboat gambler mentality. However, Rivera has found success as more than just a gambler this season. In fact, he may also have a future as a fortune-teller.
“[Rivera] told us that was going to happen,” offensive tackle Jordan Gross said Sunday, per The Charlotte Observer. “I didn’t know he was a fortune-teller. [After the Panthers' Week 14 loss in New Orleans] he said keep believing and keep working, because the Saints are going to lose one on the road and we’re going to play them in two weeks for the division title.”
Rivera’s prediction came true, too. The Panthers took down the Jets 30-20 to keep hopes of a NFC South title alive. Meanwhile, the Saints fell hard to the Rams in St. Louis, turning the ball over three times in a 27-16 loss. Sunday’s results now have the Panthers and Saints tied atop the NFC South at 10-4, with this weekend’s showdown in Carolina set to decide the division once and for all.
Drew Brees and Co. stomped Carolina 31-13 in their first meeting last week. So, it’s up to Rivera to look into his crystal ball — and at last week’s game film — and craft a better game plan this time around, because the division and a potential first-round bye are on the line.