[2017 NFL Preview] Carolina Panthers

The 2017 NFL Preview keeps on keeping on with a look at a team that I think will have a rebound season this year.

That team would be the CAROLINA PANTHERS!

What do you think? Was last year just a bad season for Carolina or have they truly fallen off a cliff after losing in Super Bowl 50?

LET’S FIND OUT!!!!!!

 

 

 

2017 NFL Preview

 

 

 

 

Record Last Five Seasons: 7-9 (2012), 12-4 (2013), 7-8-1 (2014), 15-1 (2015), 6-10 (2016)

Last Playoff Win: 2015 NFC Championship vs. Arizona

Last Playoff Appearance: Super Bowl 50 vs. Denver

Super Bowl Wins: None

Last Super Bowl Appearance: Super Bowl 50 vs. Denver

 

The Head Coach:

Ron Rivera

Coaching Record: 53-42-1

Playoff Record: 3-3

Grade: B-

 

2016-17 Team Leaders:

Passing Yards/Touchdowns: Cam Newton (3,509), Cam Newton (19)

Rushing Yards/Touchdowns: Jonathan Stewart (824), Jonathan Stewart (9)

Receiving Yards/Touchdowns: Greg Olsen (1,073), Kelvin Benjamin (7)

Tackles: Thomas Davis (106)

Interceptions: Kurt Coleman (4)

 

2017 Projected Starters:

Grade Key:

  • ELITE
  • GREAT
  • GOOD
  • NOT GOOD
  • ROOKIE
  • HORRIBLE

Offense:

QB: Cam Newton

RB: Christian McCaffery

FB: Darrel Young

WR: Kelvin Benjamin

WR: Devin Funchess

TE: Greg Olsen

LT: Matt Kalil

RT: Daryl Williams

RG: Trai Turner

LG: Andrew Norwell

OC: Ryan Kalil

Defense:

DE: Mario Addison

DE: Charles Johnson

DT: Kawann Short

DT: Star Lotulelei

LB: Luke Kuechly

LB: Thomas Davis

LB: Shaq Thompson

CB: James Bradberry

CB: Daryl Worley

FS: Kurt Coleman

SS: Mike Adams

 

The Schedule:

vs. @ San Francisco 49ers (September 10)

vs. Buffalo Bills (September 17)

vs. New Orleans Saints (September 24)

vs. @ New England Patriots (October 1)

vs. @ Detroit Lions (October 8)

vs. Philadelphia Eagles (October 12)

vs. @ Chicago Bears (October 22)

vs. @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (October 29)

vs. Atlanta Falcons (November 5)

vs. Miami Dolphins (November 13)

BYE WEEK

vs. @ New York Jets (November 26)

vs. @ New Orleans Saints (December 3)

vs. Minnesota Vikings (December 10)

vs. Green Bay Packers (December 17)

vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (December 24)

vs. @ Atlanta Falcons (December 31)

 

Three Things I Like About The Panthers This Season:

-The Rebound Season: Take a look at what the Carolina Panthers have done under head coach Ron Rivera. 7-9 in 2012. 12-4 in 2013. 7-8-1 in 2014. 15-1 in 2015. And then last year they went 6-10. There’s a pattern going on here people. It seems like the Panthers will have a mediocre season under Rivera and then rebound the very next year with a season that no one expected to happen. Will the Panthers keep the trend going this season? If so, they will easily make the playoffs and could even surprise everyone with a return trip to the Super Bowl. Why? Because no one expects it to happen.

-The Defense: The loss of defensive coordinator Sean McDermott could end up hurting the Panthers more than I think, but this is a very talented unit on paper. There isn’t a real weakness anywhere on the defense and if the Panthers do end up making a return to the post-season, it will largely be because of the impact these guys had on the field this year.

-Christian McCaffery: Yes, I know it’s training camp and we should never get a massive sports erection by stuff we see happen in camp….BUT HAVE YOU SEEN WHAT CHRISTIAN MCCAFFERY IS DOING IN TRAINING CAMP SO FAR? This guy is tearing people up. I said back during the draft process that Christian McCaffery had the ability to be an absolute stud in the NFL. He’s the kind of player that you want to get the ball in his hands because he just makes plays. My one concern with him is how he’s going to be able to handle the hits he’s going to take on a consistent basis and yes, I still have those concerns. However, people have to be able to ACTUALLY CATCH THE GUY in order to tackle him. Have you seen that clip of McCaffery juking Luke Kuechly out of his cleats numerous times? Ya, this dude is going to be a stud. Pick him up in fantasy football.

 

Three Things I Hate About The Panthers This Season:

-The Wide Receivers: This position is easily the Panthers biggest weakness in my opinion. Kelvin Benjamin. Yes, he’s good. Is he a true elite #1 NFL WR though? The jury is still out on that one. And after Benjamin….what do the Panthers truly have? They have rookie Curtis Samuel who has the potential to be a playmaker in the NFL, but how soon? Devin Funchess has been OK, but nothing to shout home about. There’s a real good possibility that Christian McCaffery is one of the Panthers leading receivers this year. Outside of Benjamin and tight end Greg Olsen, Cam Newton doesn’t really have a whole lot of weapons that he can trust in the passing game.

-Cam Newton: What the hell happened to Cam Newton last season? Newton went from having an MVP quality season in 2015 to downright average last year. Where is his head at right now? Has he peaked as a player and is starting to decline? It’s never a good sign when your QB’s play drops like it did last season with Cam and I’m not entirely sure he can get it turned around now. Confidence is huge when it comes to the QB position and Panthers fans had better hope that Cam’s wasn’t broken last year. He needs to rebound in a big way this year in order to get me to be able to trust him again.

-The Left Tackle Position: The Panthers have been struggling to find a good left tackle for sometime now. They signed Michael Oher a few years ago, but were eventually blindsided by how much his play has declined over the years and he’s gone now and remains unsigned. They brought in free agent Matt Kalil to fill the open roster spot, but anyone who has watched Kalil play the last few years can tell you that HE BLOWS! If the Panthers were hoping for an upgrade at the left tackle position, they didn’t get one.

 

The Prediction:

11-5

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