The Carolina Panthers haven’t had much success recently at winning at the beginning of the season. They’ve done fine at the end of the season, but it’s the latter that they hope to improve this year.
This season brings with it the same questions as it did last season. Will the Panthers make the post-season? Will Cam Newton continue to develop as our quarterback for the future? Will Ron Rivera survive the season? One new question is whether or not the Panthers will stumble again out of the gate.
After going a miserable 2-6 in the first half of last season, the Panthers went on to win five of their last six games. The defense was stifling and Cam Newton was putting together a much-overlooked end of the season due to RGIII, Russel Wilson, and Andrew Luck. Now we need this team to do that during every point of this season.
This brings me to what I believe will set the tone for our season. And no, it’s not because it’s the first game of the season, it’s because of who the team is. If the Panthers can come out and get a win against the Seattle Seahawks week one then I think it sets them up for a playoff spot. They’re playing the two toughest divisions in football this year in the NFC West and they’re usual NFC South opponents. Beating the Seahawks in the season opener would get them a win against a playoff caliber team. It would also make a tough first three games a little easier. The Panthers must be 2-1 heading into the bye week.
If the Carolina Panthers head into the bye week at 1-2 or even 0-3 then it’s going to make an already brutal schedule almost impossible. Setting the tone early on with an expectation of winning and beating teams that you aren’t expected to beat has the potential to start breeding a winning mentality. Instead of thinking they can win, they will start believing that they will win.
Beating the Seahawks and possibly the Giants makes those Patriots, 49ers, and Falcons a lot less daunting. It adds confidence to a roster with talent. It creates an identity that this team doesn’t have, and that’s one of a team that wins games when they should.