Carolina Panthers can reach playoffs, coach says

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A four-game winning streak has Ron Rivera feeling optimistic.

Carolina’s third-year head coach said Monday he’s confident the Panthers can reach the postseason.

The Panthers are 5-3 at the season’s midway point, only a game behind the division-leading New Orleans Saints in the NFC South.

“I think we can be a playoff team because of the things that we’ve done and because of the way we’re playing,” Rivera said. “If we had played like this, consistent all the way through, who knows?”

COURTS: A 23-year-old man was convicted of second-degree murder Monday in the 2007 slaying of Washington Redskins star Sean Taylor, who was shot outside his own bedroom.

BENGALS: Put defensive tackle Geno Atkins, a former Georgia star, on the injured reserve list Monday, four days after he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.

VIKINGS: Tight end Kyle Rudolph will miss at least the next month with a fractured left foot.

BILLS: Released quarterback Matt Flynn in another indication rookie starter EJ Manuel is ready to return from injury.

49ERS: Activated wide receiver Mario Manningham from the physically unable to perform list. He had been out with a knee injury.

JAGUARS: Placed receiver Justin Blackmon on the suspended list for substance abuse, and released safety Dwight Lowery from injured reserve.


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