Rivera talks about resting players, Josh Norman - | WBTV Charlotte

Rivera talks about resting players, Josh Norman

Photo: Carolina Panthers Photo: Carolina Panthers

While Carolina Panthers fans relish the team’s 14-0 season, Head Coach Ron Rivera is all business as his team prepares to take on the Atlanta Falcons Sunday on the road.

“This next game we play has a lot of meaning,” said Rivera. “It's an opportunity for us to clench home field throughout, and hopefully, we'll be able to do that and take advantage of it,” he said.

Playoff tickets go on sale Tuesday.

The Panthers have two more regular-season games. After playing in Atlanta, the team will play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at home in Charlotte. Historically, teams that have gone undefeated this far into the season have competed for the Super Bowl title.

When asked whether he considered resting his players to prevent injury and protect their health, Rivera said his strategy is to take one game at a time. “What we do is going to be predicated on the game,” he said, adding that the Atlanta game has great value to the team.

Rivera also offered no opinion on whether the NFL should discipline New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. who went after Panthers player Josh Norman Sunday. One encounter included a hard helmet-to-helmet hit.

Rivera said it was up to the NFL to review Beckham’s actions and discuss what needs to happen. Late Monday afternoon, the League suspended Beckham for one game based on “unnecessary roughness.”

Rivera said he spoke to Norman earlier in the day and told him he was proud of how Norman and the team handled the tension.

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