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Rivera confident Panthers can make playoffs

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Coach Ron Rivera says he's confident the Carolina Panthers can be a playoff team.

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The Panthers have won four straight games, including a 34-10 victory Sunday over the Atlanta Falcons. The win leaves the Panthers (5-3) one game behind the division-leading New Orleans Saints in the NFC South.

Rivera says Monday, ''I think we can be a playoff team because of the things that we've done and because of the way we're playing.''

It doesn't matter to Rivera that Carolina's five wins have come against teams with a combined 8-33 record. Rivera says ''you play who you're supposed to play.''

The Panthers haven't been to the playoffs since 2008.

Carolina travels to San Francisco (6-2) this Sunday and Rivera says ''it will give us a good indication of where we are.''

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AP NFL website www.pro32.ap.org

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