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Greg Olsen: Clock is ticking and Panthers have to dial in

CHARLOTTE – The Panthers are 5-0 at home this season, so yes, they're happy to be home against the Seahawks this week after two straight road losses.

But veteran tight end Greg Olsen provided some cautionary words on Monday.

"Just because we're coming home doesn't mean things are all the sudden going to fix themselves," Olsen said. "That's just not how it works."

As usual, Olsen's right.

A few weeks back, after Carolina's comeback fell short at Washington, Olsen was the one providing some important perspective.

Then the Panthers reeled off three consecutive wins and were putting themselves in the contender conversation.

Now Carolina is trying to snap a two-game skid that featured a blowout loss in Pittsburgh and a narrow defeat in Detroit.

"That's this league. Teams that were hot three or four weeks ago, all the sudden don't look so hot. Teams that were struggling three or four weeks ago, all the sudden now are the teams everyone is picking," Olsen said. "The teams that are the most even-keeled are the teams that find themselves in it at the end. Hopefully, that's us.

"We'll find out."

Handling the highs and lows is part of navigating the NFL season. Olsen knows that as well as anyone.

And he also knows the Panthers have to execute at a much higher level if they want to get back in the win column.

"We have to figure out what causes us to have lapses at the wrong times," Olsen said.

Lapses as isolated as the widely discussed failed two-point attempt or as all-encompassing as Carolina producing just 34 total net yards on four first-half possessions after producing a 90-yard touchdown drive to start the game in Detroit.

Now we're into Week 12, that time of the year where nothing can be taken for granted and there is little (if any) room for error.

"We have to really dial in now. We've got a heck of a stretch (upcoming)," Olsen said. "We can't worry about what New Orleans is doing; we have to stop worrying about playoff pictures. We need to win a game, you know what I mean?

"If we don't win we're not going to be in the playoffs. We just need to narrow it down. Win one game."

View the top ten photos by team photographer, Melissa Melvin-Rodriguez, and second shooter, Brett Carlsen.