The Carolina Panthers had to win the last game of the season to get the NFC South title and a first-round bye so it’s not like it was a time they could rest their players. Steve Smith had to sit out with an injury, and there were not a lot of other options for Cam Newton to rely on, but there need to be.
Studs like Graham and Gronkowski are in a league of their own, but the position offers solid players.
After 8 grueling weeks in the National Football League, all players have some sort of injury or ailment that will attempt to hamper their play. And this has traditionally been the time in the regular season where you can separate the pretender teams from the contending teams.