Panthers are fourth team ever to make NFL playoffs with losing record

Can Cam Newton and the 7-8-1 Panthers win in the playoffs? (USATSI)
Can Cam Newton and the 7-8-1 Panthers win in the playoffs? (USATSI)

Getting into the NFL playoffs isn't easy, getting into the playoffs with a losing record is almost impossible.

The Carolina Panthers will be taking a 7-8-1 record into the playoffs, making Carolina only the fourth team in NFL history to get into the postseason with a losing record.

The Panthers join the 2010 Seahawks as the only losing teams to make it to the postseason while playing a 16-game schedule. The other two teams to make the playoffs with a losing record both made it in 1982 when the NFL only played a nine-game season due to a strike. 

So how did the losing team's do? Let's find out.

1982

Browns (4-5): The Browns had to travel to Los Angeles to play the top the team in the AFC, the 8-1 Raiders -- and things got ugly. Cleveland's defense was torched for 510 total yards in a 27-10 loss.

Giving up 510 yards of offense in a playoff game doesn't happen often, even in our pass-happy era of today. In the 31 years since the Browns and Raiders played, only 14 teams have put up at least 510 yards in a postseason game. 

Although the Browns couldn't stop Raiders quarterback Jim Plunkett, this game was actually close until the end of the third quarter. On the Browns' opening possession of the second half, they drove down to the Raiders 11-yard line and looked to break open a 10-10 game. 

Unfortunately, Cleveland is the factory of sadness so you know this story ends with something sad.

Browns running back Charles White lost a fumble before the Browns could score. The Raiders took the turnover and drove 89-yards for a touchdown that gave Los Angeles a 17-10 lead. Things only got uglier from there for Cleveland. Result: Raiders 27-10 over Browns.

Lions (4-5): The Lions had to go on the road to play the No. 1 seeded Redskins (8-1) in a game that was pretty much over before it started. On their first three possessions, the Lions lost two fumbles and threw a pick-six.

The game was so ugly, let's just do some trivia. To stump your friends this weekend, ask them if they know who the Lions starting quarterback was in this game. 

Answer: Eric Hipple. Hipple was sacked four times and threw two interceptions in the blowout loss. Result: Redskins 31-7 over Lions. 

2010

Seahawks (7-9): The 2010 Seahawks are the team that started the debate about whether or not division winners should get to host playoff games. Despite going 7-9, Seattle still got to host the 11-5 Saints because the Seahawks won the NFC West and the Saints were a wild-card team. 

The Seahawks would end up pulling off the upset in a game that's mostly remembered for giving us the Beastquake.

With Seattle clinging to a 34-30 fourth quarter lead, Marshawn Lynch took a handoff from Matt Hasselbeck and ran over everyone on the Saints defense en route to a 67-yard touchdown.

Now let's watch Marshawn finish the run. 

Result: Seahawks 41-36 over Saints.

The Seahawks would go on the road to Chicago the following week and lose in a game that was never close. The Bears jumped out to a 28-0 lead and held on for a 35-24 win.

So losing teams are 0-3 on the road, but 1-0 home. That's good news for the Panthers, who host the Cardinals on Saturday. 

The Panthers are also apart of one other piece of history: They're only the second team ever to make the playoffs after experiencing a six-game losing streak during the regular season.

Carolina joins the 1970 Bengals, who started the season 1-6 after going on a losing streak that started in Week 2. Cincinnati eventually rebounded to win its final seven games and make the playoffs with an 8-6 record. 

The Bengals didn't do much in the playoffs though, they lost to the Baltimore Colts 17-0. 

So will the Panthers beat the Cardinals? Find out what our experts think by heading to our picks page here

CBS Sports Writer

John Breech has been at CBS Sports since July 2011 and currently spends most of his time writing about the NFL. He's believed to be one of only three people in the world who thinks that Andy Dalton will... Full Bio

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