The 2013 Carolina Panthers began the season 1-3, but turned things around mid-stride and ripped off eight consecutive victories to climb to 9-3. They finished the season with a 12-4 record and won the NFC South. A lot of things went right for the Panthers during their winning streak, but the groundwork for the turnaround was their fierce defense.
From a personnel standpoint, the strongest part of their defense was the front four. DEs Greg Hardy and Charles Johnson provided a presence as stout run defenders and explosive pass rushers, while Colin Cole, Star Lotulelei and Kawann Short – along with Dwan Edwards, once he returned from injury in Week 9 – comprised a rotation at DT that proved too formidable for most foes. Carolina also had – and still does have – a young star in the LB corps in Luke Kuechly. To round out the defense, the Panthers had physical safeties and tough CBs who were equally good in coverage and in defending the run.