The return of Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers from collarbone surgery. -- An investigation by the NFL into allegations that owner Jerry Richardson settled with at least four former employees for workplace misconduct.Beyond that, an offense that has at times looked stagnant was as explosive as coach Ron Rivera predicted it would be during the preseason.And it all started with Newton."Cam was solid," Rivera said."He has been on point, he has done the things we asked and he has been solid.We have been very pleased with those things, and again, I think that as we continue to go forward this is the type of energy we need from our quarterback and from our key players."Pair that with a defense ranked fifth in the league, one that finally is getting interceptions that it couldn't buy through the first 12 games, and the Panthers could be a serious threat in the NFC.They believe they can continue that moving forward."We have a lot of very high-character guys in this locker room," Olsen said."We have a lot of guys that understand what our role is here and where we fit in this organization and what we're here to do.
They would need to win out against Tampa Bay and Atlanta, then hope the Saints lose one of their final two games against the same teams.Winning out seems realistic with the way the offense came to life with the reemergence of tight end Greg Olsen as a weapon and possibly the coming-out party of rookie running back Christian Mc Caffrey.Olsen, who spent eight games on injured reserve with a fractured foot and missed the next game and a half with soreness in the foot, looked a shell of himself in last week's win against Minnesota with no catches on one target.How they handle the attention over allegations of Richardson over the next few weeks will be interesting.But they proved on this Sunday that when it's time to take the field they can put those issues aside and play at a high level.