The Warriors and the Panthers have both found their way to undefeated records this season so far. Anything and everything has been impressive when talking about these two teams. This brings rise to an interesting conversation. Who will be the first to lose?
Golden State became NBA champions by beating a LeBron led team, who many people thought and still think is the best player in the world. High expectations were set upon them, however no one thought that they would get off to a record breaking 20-0 start. A record previously set at 15-0 by the 1993-1994 Houston Rockets. This also has led to talk of them breaking the best regular season record of 72-10 held by the 1995-1996 Chicago Bulls. That same year they also won the championship. This Warriors team is firing on all cylinders. Comments like they only won because the Cavs weren’t fully healthy, and that they didn’t have to play the Spurs or the Clippers have only added fuel to the fire. Steph Curry is leading the NBA in points per game with 32, and is on pace for an outrageous 418 three pointers(this would break his own record by 132 makes). In addition, their margin of victory is over 15 points a game. It’s not just offense which makes them so efficient. It’s also defense. They rank sixth in the league in defensive efficiency.
The Panthers have been no less dominant, but much more of a surprise. After a 7-8-1 finish, and losing there only playoff game no one thought this was possible. They stand alone as the only undefeated team left in football. An MVP caliber season by Cam Newton has the Panthers with Superbowl aspirations. Statistically it hasn’t shown, but they have never been this good. Their previous best start was 5-0, and they were able to make it all the way to the Super Bowl. They let there only opportunity to win one slip away to the Patriots. That was over a decade ago. Now they have overcome adversity by achieving an 11-0 record without their number one receiver Kelvin Benjamin due to injury. He caught 48% of the Panthers passes last season. They haven’t let that stop them. Emerging cornerback Josh Norman has been at the top of the league in press coverage, and tight end Greg Olsen is making his mark. They also completely decimated the Cowboys on Thanksgiving day on one of the biggest stages in football, and proved that they are a force to be reckoned with. They may also be the first ones to win the NFC south in back to back seasons.
While it’s entertaining to think about the Warriors are going to lose first. This is because they play about four games per one of Carolina. This means that to not lose before the Panthers they would have to go somewhere in the neighborhood of 40-0 give or take. This would easily beat the record of most games won in a row of 33 held by 1971-1972 Lakers. Steph Curry has even said himself that they will probably drop one before the Panthers do. Even if that happens I still think they will break the record for best regular season finish. Football is a crazy sport, and upsets consistently happen. It is not inconceivable that the Panthers lose first.
However, none of this matters. All that matters is title’s not records, individual performances, or who will lose first between two undefeated teams. Any player will tell you that. Both teams will obviously make the playoffs. The Warriors have a 62% chance to win the title, and have the best odds (3/2 to win). No one can argue with that. There is no team better then the Warriors right now in basketball. The same however can’t be said for the Panthers. The Patriots are leading right now with 3/1 odds to win it all. The Panthers are tied with the Cardinals for second with 11/2 odds. While I believe Carolina should not be the favorite to win, I disagree with the fact that the Patriots will win. The Cardinals are the most complete team in football right now, and will win Super Bowl 50.