Carolina Panthers Twenty Bracket Fox Region Round 1

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January 26, 2014; Honolulu, HI, USA; Team Rice offensive tackle Jordan Gross of the Carolina Panthers (69) blocks Team Sanders defensive end Mario Williams of the Buffalo Bills (94) during the third quarter of the 2014 Pro Bowl at Aloha Stadium. Team Rice defeated Team Sanders 22-21. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

2 Seed JORDAN GROSS over 15 Seed Will Witherspoon

It is going to take more than Witherspoon to knock off Gross. Witherspoon was good, sure. But he was not good enough for long enough. Until last year, no Panthers team made the playoffs without Gross for a decade or more. It is really nice when the left tackle position is not in doubt.

10 Seed CHRIS GAMBLE over 7 Seed DeAngelo Williams

This was a close call too. In the end, the Panthers’ dependence on defense won out. The Panthers deployed several successful running backs. That includes Jonathan Stewart, who undoubtedly took carries and production away from Williams. Gamble was a constant in the secondary when the secondary shifted around him.

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3 Seed JAKE DELHOMME over 14 Seed Chris Harris

Day light come and you got to Delhomme. Delhomme was brought in to run the system and avoid mistakes, but there was a little bit of a gambler in him. Over time he and Steve Smith figured out that balance and could abuse one on one matchups with it. If you believed Delhomme was inconsequential to the Panthers success, then his Tommy John surgery proved otherwise. The Cardinals playoff game was a black mark from which Delhomme might not have recovered.

6 Seed KRIS JENKINS over 11 Seed Jonathan Stewart

Oh, what could have been. If Jenkins had cared about his conditioning and not clashed with the Panthers about it, he could have continued to be the space eater in the middle. He might have had fewer injuries too. As it was, Jenkins was remarkably capable during the peak years of the Fox era. There was a time when he was considered more important to team success than Peppers.