Second-Annual Carolina Panthers 2010 Regular Season Predictions

CHICAGO - AUGUST 28: A referee picks up a penalty flag during a preseason game between the Chicago Bears and the Arizona Cardinals during a preseason game at Soldier Field on August 28, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Cardinals defeated the Bears 14-9. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

So last year, while I was with Bleacher Report, I made my first season-long prediction on the outcome of the Carolina Panthers’ 2009 season, and well…it didn’t go all that great. But who cares? It’s all in fun, anyway.

I thought that with 21-of-22 starters returning from the 2008 campaign, Carolina had a decent chance at being a solid team, and while they were solidly shaken for maybe six games, there were two games where stupid mistakes cost ‘em, and eight games where they looked great!

During the course of the offseason, the team changed it’s direction by going younger in almost every facet of the offense, defense, and special teams; leaving us to wonder what we have in Charlotte?

Preseason didn’t show us much on offense, as the coaching staff gave the passing game a huge number of reps in the absence of star wide receiver Steve Smith, in it’s quest for finding a No. 2 receiver.

The Panthers became the first team in 14 years to go scoreless on offense during preseason. The defense, an area which was predicted by many to be this team’s biggest area of weakness, turned out to have the best pass rush in preseason, registering 19 sacks without one Julius Peppers…a.k.a. “he who shall remain nameless.”

So, I’ll jump into this thing now, and go game-by-game — win or loss for the Carolina Panthers’ 2010 season.

Sunday September 12, 2010 @ New York Giants

The Panthers all-time record against the Giants is 3-2 in regular season play. Their record against the Giants is just as close as the final scores against New York; last season’s 41-9 humbling being the exception. I made it known in my top-10 on the Giants how much i don’t thrill to the team nor it’s fanbase, so my prediction is going to be what it is.

I’ll take Carolina to christen the Giants’ new home with a win over New York.

Sunday September 19, 2010 vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Sweet! I get to pick on the Bucs next week! This game (as most division games) has always been a hostile one between the Panthers and Bucs. Last year while visiting sultry Florida, Carolina’s Dante Wesley splattered Tampa’s return man, Earnest Graham. It was an ugly hit, I don’t agree with the hit in principle, but as a fan it goes with the territory. Ya got jacked up, man. The Bucs have made some improvements during the offseason. Most experts have the Buccaneers being in the same boat as the Panthers, but I don’t…Right now Carolina’s defense is far ahead of Tampa’s, and the Bucs still don’t have that solid one-two punch of a running attack like Carolina has.

Chalk up another victory to Carolina, as the Panthers start their season undefeated, at 2-0.

Sunday September 26, 2010 vs. Cincinnati Bengals

I would have had a different prediction in this game, and that Carolina would be going 3-0 to start their season, but that was before the Cincinnati Bengals signed Terrible Owens to it’s roster. Now the Bungles have a better shot at beating the other Cats. However, with the acquisition of Owens, I’ll have more material to write another top-10 list for them.

I’m going to say the Panthers take their first loss in this game. But it’s going to be close. Like within three points close.

Carolina is now 2-1.

Sunday October 3, 2010 @ New Orleans Saints

I hate picking this game, because generally, it’s a guaranteed loss when Carolina travels to NOLA. And this time shouldn’t be any different. In fact, I don’t think it will be any different, aside from who the starting quarterback is now compared to a year ago.

Carolina falls to the Saints, evening out at 2-2.

Sunday October 10, 2010 vs. Chicago Bears

I’m looking forward to this game. I see the Chicago FOOTBALL Cubs, and I think how they’re a similar team to the Panthers. They also have former Panthers players on their roster! His whose name shall not be spoken, returns home, and Chris Harris returns to his home-away-from-home.

The outcome of this game is going to weigh heavily on how well the offensive line can protect the quarterback, and if they’re successful in opening lanes for the running game.

I like Carolina’s odds in this one though, and I’ll give them a “W.” The Panthers extend their record to 3-2.

Sunday October 17, 2010 BYE

Sweet! With a 3-2 record, Carolina gets a chance to regroup, rest up a little, and prepare for a visit from the San Francisco 49ers.

Sunday October 24, 2010 vs. San Francisco 49ers

I think this is going to be a tough game. In fact, I expect another close one, with the 49ers emerging victorious once the dust settles. The Niners have found a solid head coach in Mike Singletary, and once again, their defense is just as stout as it was a year ago. Meanwhile, the offense is coming along. The time difference and jet-lag may be something of a factor in keeping this game close.

Carolina loses a close one, and evens out to 3-3.

Sunday October 31, 2010 @ St. Louis Rams

You know what sucks? This year Halloween falls on a Sunday! What a load of crap! But a perfect day to go play tricks on the St. Louis Lambs!

I don’t have much for this one; the Lambs are still in a rebuilding process. Defensively they are improved. Offensively, they still have a ways to go.

Carolina wins this one, moves up to 4-3.

Sunday November 7, 2010 vs. New Orleans Saints

Jeez, you guys again?! We just lost to you! Okay, well I think by now Carolina should be able to sneak a win away from the Saints in round two, splitting the series 1-1, and inching ahead to a record of 5-3.

“Who Dat say dey gon’ beat dem Saints?” Me!

Sunday November 14, 2010 @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers

This time, the Bucs will be better prepared for a visit from their arch-rival Panthers team. But I still can’t bring myself to giving Tampa Bay a win — a team which a year ago, finished with three wins.

This round will be much closer than the first meeting, but the Panthers will still come out over the Bucs, improving to 6-3.

Sunday November 21, 2010 vs. Baltimore Ravens.

Ah, shit! These guys?! I don’t like this one at all. Carolina played Baltimore pretty well in preseason — not that it matters — but we didn’t see much from the offense — not that it matters. Going off of that, and the sweet receiving game the Ravens gots going on, I’m going to side with the Birds that eat dead things off the roadside, as they scrape the Panthers’ carcasses off the field in a close but ugly game.

Baltimore plays dirty. Expect injuries.

Carolina sinks to 6-4.

Sunday November 28, 2010 @ Cleveland Browns

This game has some meaning. Supposing former Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme is still “the man” under center, Carolina will once again face another former Panther.

Let’s just hope this time around, Jake has flashbacks of his time in Carolina, and starts throwing the ball to Carolina’s defenders.

Regardless, Carolina comes out on top, extending it’s record to 7-4.

Sunday December 5, 2010 @ Seattle Seahawks

Another winnable game for the Panthers, who extend their record to 8-4. Seattle has no running back, and a young core of receivers. By this point in Seattle’s season, long-time quarterback Matt Hasselbeck should be in a coma, leaving Charlie Whitehurst as the Sea-chickens’ starting QB. Carolina still wins.

Sunday December 12, 2010 vs. Atlanta Falcons

By this point of the season, the Galcons should have a pretty good handle of where they are both offensively and defensively. So too should the Panthers. This is another game in which both teams usually split the series, and this year shouldn’t be any different. So I’m going to go with the Panthers beating the Falcons in Charlotte on this go-around, ’til they meet again in Week 17.

Carolina extends it’s record to 9-4.

Sunday December 19, 2010 vs. Arizona Cardinals

The Cards are a shell of what they were a year ago. Gone is Kurt Warner, Matt “The Bust” Leinart talked his way out of town, leaving the Cards with Derek Anderson as the starting quarterback. Anderson showed some flashes of success in his time with the Cleveland Browns…not an easy feat. But I think by this point of the season, Arizona will be worn out. They’ll put up a decent fight, but Carolina will clamp down on defense and run the ball down the Cards’ gullet.

Carolina now owns a record of 10-4.

Sunday December 23, 2010 @ Pittsburgh Steelers

Assuming everything goes well for the Steelers — Ben Roethlisberger keeps Big Ben tucked away — and Pittsburgh stays relatively free of injury, I see no reason why the Steelers don’t open one of their Christmas presents early with a win over the Carolina Panthers.

Carolina falls to 10-5.

Sunday January 2, 2010 @ Atlanta Falcons

The Failcons are going to be partied out from New Years Eve, especially Roddy White, who will be at whatever shin-dig Michael Vick is throwing. I was going to split the series with Atlanta, but I changed my mind. Screw the Falcons and their bobblehead look-alike quarterback. Yeah I know, Jimmy Clausen looks like an alien. But Matt Ryan looks like a friggin’ bobblehead doll.

August 19, 2010: Atlanta

Carolina wins, goes 11-5 on the season, and goes to the playoffs no worse as a Wild Card.

Follow Cat Crave on Twitter @THECatCrave.

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