|Heres my take on the Panthers as a Panthers fan...take it for what its worth.
Posted: 7/30/2012 9:15:45 PM
I'm going to assume that the majority of people here expect the Panthers to suck or shine, and considering that this is a team with many pros and cons, its pretty easy to see why.
The good came with the bad. Its just that the good had a bunch of fancy highlight reel plays that could kind of overshadow just how bad the panthers D was last year.
I won't say that the Panthers will put up the same numbers as last year, but they should be a lot more efficient. I believe Newton's #s were blown up from his first 2 games. I believe ~3600 yards with an improved completion percentage, ~3-5:1 Touchdown/INT ratio, and similar rushing stats as last year would be good #s to expect if he continues at his rate.
Is Cam Newton on the same level as Rodgers, Brady, etc? No. Not until he proves it this year.
However, is the rest of the Panthers offense on par with other top offenses? For the most part yes. The Oline is decent and will be really good if Bell works out, and Steve Smith, Olsen, DeAngelo, and Stewart are great at what they do.
The group is just as cohesive as the other top offensive units in the game. I mean, they have to be if they weathered the disaster that was 2 years ago. The key parts of that offense got through that and now have a team that can do things this year. The cohesiveness and talent from the rest of the offense will help Newton continue to prosper.
That and...despite all the Cam Newton shots that are taken about his big head and cocky attitude...I'm not gonna talk about his morality...I'm not too sure about that..but he comes to work everyday and is driven to prove doubters wrong. He work ethic is relentless.
That being said, the offense is what I expect the true Pro that this team has. I expect maybe less numbers, but expect the Panthers to still have that homerun threat on every play and to be miles more efficient.
The Con is the defense, and the reason why I'm not too quick to declare the playoffs or even the over on this to be honest.
Here are the teams the Panthers will play (In no order): Tampa Bay x 2, New Orleans x 2, Atlanta x 2, Seattle, Chicago, NYG, Dallas, Philly, Washington, Denver, KC, San Diego, Oakland. Each one of those teams has multiple players on their offense that can give the Panthers D problems. I expect Beason, Edwards, Davis, and Keuchly to be impacts on the run game, and for those problems to be somewhat lessened. The pass D is bad though. Gamble is decent, and the rest are bad. Every quarterback is able to pick apart that D. In a dreamworld, the run D improves, and a more efficient panthers offense just keeps the other offense on the bench, and hopefully that'll cure a lot of the secondary holes. However, you just can't say that.
If the Panthers offense proves to be for real and the D issues are lessened for the most part, I can see the Panthers going as good as 11-5, maybe even 12-4. However 6-10, 7-9 is completely possible if the D isn't fixed. Especially with the offenses in their division.
However...the Panthers play a lot of their bigger games at home, and Charlotte is going to be a tough place to play in this year. The city is fired up. Weeks 2/3 against the Saints and Giants will be huge, and if they pull both(Or win w1 @Tampa and against NYG), that could just be the boost they need to be a winning team for the rest of the season. The other big games at home include Dallas, Denver, New Orleans, and Atlanta.
I think 9-7 is what I would go with, but I'm not too sure if that will be good enough for the playoffs in the NFC