The Panthers are now on track to make the playoffs this year for the third straight season, and it may now be easier than ever before.
Here are the top five reasons why the Panthers are almost guaranteed to make the playoffs;
#1 Cam Newton
The Panthers now have one of the youngest and arguably the best franchise quarterback in the league. He’s carried the offensive burden for the Panthers in the past and he’ll have to do so again this season. He’ll miss his top target in Benjamin, so he’ll need to make rookie Devin Funchess, the veterans already on the team or a player yet to be added look good this season.
#2 Offensive Tackle
Last year, the Panther’s offensive tackles were embarrassing to say the least, but Michael Oher and Daryl Williams have already proven to be a decent combo.
With Cam as the QB, we don’t need much more than decent – anything near league average will be more than sufficient for him to dominate.
#3 Killer Defense
The Panthers defense was solid last year and is proving to be even better this season. They spent their first round pick on freak athlete Shaq Thompson, who could be Thomas Davis 2.0. Thompson will eventually replace Davis, but in the meantime, they’ll make a nice tandem at outside linebacker.
Luke Kuechly is arguably the best linebackers in the game. Charles Tillman is aging, but he can still force turnovers with the best of them. The defensive line features a combination of veterans and youngsters on the verge of breaking out.
#4 Improved Receiving
Funchess should provide Newton with a young dynamic receiver to grow with, and Corey Brown is already proving himself as a solid addition to the receiving core, already raking up 5 receptions for 70 yards.
Having a weapons like Funchess and Brown splitting the field along with Greg Olsen at tight end should provide Newton with plenty of options to pass to.
#5 Easy Schedule
The NFC South is simply not good. A .500 record would have won the division last year and none of the teams could even do that. While the division winner this year should post at least an 8-8 mark, it shouldn’t be much higher. Making things easier for the Panthers is that they have the 27th easiest schedule in the NFL this year. Getting nine or 10 wins this season is now more than doable.
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