Rivera thanks fans after Panthers win division title

by: Scott Wickersham Updated:

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The Carolina Panthers are taking the next two weeks to get ready for playoffs after clinching their first division title in five years.

On Monday head coach Ron Rivera said he is excited with the division title, but the team has a lot more work to do.

Rivera was all business as he looked forward to the playoffs.

He said he always envisioned his team in the postseason, even after the Panthers' slow start.

Rivera described finishing 12-4 as satisfying, but said he is not yet satisfied.

The Panthers have a bye in the Wild Card round.

The coach said the extra week will give players more time to rest and veteran wide receiver Steve Smith time to heal.

On Sunday, Jan. 12, the team will either play the Green Bay Packers, the Philadelphia Eagles -- who they lost to in the preseason -- or the San Francisco 49ers, who they beat in the regular season.

Rivera said they are looking at game tape and preparing game plans for all three possible opponents.

Rivera had a special thank you for the fans who have been there through the good times and the bad this season.

“(We’re) very excited about the fans and their response, a lot of them in Atlanta, and then when we got back last night. It speaks to the support we have got from our fans throughout the year,” Rivera said.

The Panthers said a limited number of tickets for the playoff game will go on sale Wednesday at 10 a.m. for sale through Ticketmaster only.

The Panthers' ticket office will not be selling them.

For more information on playoff tickets, click here.