The 2009 schedule for the Carolina Panthers is brutal. The consensus, I think among most Carolina fans is that Carolina will go 8 and 8 in 2009, give or take a game or two. For instance, former Panther, Frank Garcia has suggested that he thinks Carolina will go 9 and 7, while his former teammate and co-host Brenston Buckner believes Carolina will go 7 and 9.
Essentially, an average record for Carolina in 2009 probably will not be a disappointment or a shock to any Carolina fan. But don’t for a minute misunderstand my sentiment. I am not at all suggesting Carolina is going to plunge into the muck of mediocrity. In fact, I think 8 and 8 will be pretty good, 9 and 7 would be very good, and 10 and 6 might be close to awesome, considering the schedule.
Last year the San Diego Chargers made it to the playoffs with an 8 and 8 record (the first time a team made it to the playoffs with such a record since 1985). Then they went on to beat the Colts, which is something I don’t think many people saw coming. If Carolina can make it to the playoffs, even with having a not-so-spectacular record, they have a chance at going all the way. I think they will lose some games, but keep in mind, they can win more games than the rest of the teams in the NFC South who have similar schedules. By the end of the regular season, they will have played enough of the perennial powerhouse teams to be battle-tested. And say Carolina loses to teams like the Eagles, the Giants, and the Patriots in the regular season. If Carolina meets one of those teams in the post-season, then Carolina will have the upper hand, as it is very difficult for any team in the NFL to sweep another team in the same season.
I don’t expect Carolina to have another 12 and 4 season in 2009, but I think it is safe to assume that if Carolina makes it into the postseason, then they will be a surprise team and possibly that team that no one wants to play. Carolina is getting no respect this year, so, look for them to claw it back in 2009….
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