As the NFL season enters its 10th week, just three teams remain undefeated. The Cincinnati Bengals, Carolina Panthers and your New England Patriots have been victorious in each of the eight games that they have played.
Perfect Season Watch is officially underway. If a team can polish off its first eight wins, who's to say they can't win their last eight? Naturally, it's easier said than done.
It's no surprise to see a team like the Pats in the perfect season mix. The defending champs are looking as polished as ever, with a rocket-powered offense that continues to show no signs of slowing down. What did come as a surprise, however, is the run that the Panthers have pulled off.
The Panthers finished 7-8-1 last season -- good enough for the division title in the putrid NFL South -- and Ron Rivera's seat was heating up quickly. This 8-0 start featured unlikely wins over Seattle and Green Bay, and 'Riverboat Ron's' job remains safe for now -- thanks to Cam Newton and a ground game that leads the NFL in rushing yards per game.
A start like that has some folks around NFL circles buzzing -- particularly, NFL coaching legend Don Shula, who coached the 1972 Miami Dolphins to the only perfect season in league history. As Shula said, courtesy of Yardbarker:
Shula does have a horse in the race, though. The man behind the Panthers' hot offense is his son, Mike -- in a position that he's held since 2013.Just spoke with Scott from @theobserver - if anyone can match the #perfectseason I would love to see the @Panthers do it #proudofmyson— Don Shula (@DonShula) November 10, 2015
Many regard Shula as an expert on undefeated seasons. He was consulted during the Patriots' 16-0 run in 2007, and made waves after their Week 9 game -- a 24-20 win over the Indianapolis Colts -- going on record as to call that season "tainted" due to the lingering Spygate concerns.
Should the Panthers polish off the rest of their season victorious, they'd be the first team since that '07 Pats team to sweep the regular season. Unless, of course, the Patriots have something to say about that.
Follow Rob Riches on Twitter @Riches61