And so, here we are. The Carolina Panthers are 7-3, in the middle of a tight race in the NFC South and are gaining back two critical pieces to their roster.
The Panthers now have tight end Greg Olsen and center Ryan Kalil available against the Jets after long absences.
Olsen will start after missing the past eight games with a broken foot.
Kalil injured his neck in Week 2 and is active, but Tyler Larsen will start as the Panthers ease Kalil back in Sunday against the New York Jets.
The return of Olsen will pay large dividends, when you consider both wide receiver Curtis Samuel (IR due to injury) and Kelvin Benjamin (traded to Bills) are no longer playing for the team.
Jets running back Matt Forte also is active after missing the team's previous game with swelling in his surgically repaired right knee. He sat out practice this week until Friday, when he was limited.
The key though, to a Panthers 4th straight victory will have to rely on their defense, like they have all season long.
The Panthers’ defense has forced five turnovers in the previous three games – four interceptions and one fumble. Carolina has turned its five turnovers into 21 points in the last three games.
Carolina is 5-0 this season when winning the turnover differential or scoring any points off turnovers.
Rookie wide receiver Curtis Samuel will be placed on injured reserve to make room for Olsen on the team's 53-man roster. Samuel sustained an ankle injury during Carolina's 45-21 victory over the Miami Dolphins in Week 10.
Be sure to tune in Sunday night on WFMY News 2, for full highlights and post game reaction with Luke Lyddon.