Gauging Panthers' Division Rivals

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Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

To the dismay of Panthers Nation, the Carolina Panthers have been the punching bag of most analysts this offseason.

Heading into training camp, there was certainly reason to second guess why there could be a step back in the Carolina Panther’s quest for a second straight division title. The offensive line has regressed from last season, the secondary will be relying on veterans teetering on the wrong side of 30, and though Kelvin Benjamin and Cam’s receiving targets have shown promise in their first preseason game and camp, preseason is still preseason and last I checked, the records and accomplishments in the preseason do not go over into the regular season (Here is to Detroit and Washington fans last year).  

Yet, viewing the rosters, I believe the Carolina Panthers may not match last year’s 12-4 record but will absolutely vie for a playoff spot.

Luke Kuechly is one of the best young players in the game and spearheads last year’s second ranked defense.  On the other side of the ball, Cam Newton’s potential is limitless as he continues to plow through the NFL record books joining greats such as Kurt Warner and Peyton Manning.

Like nearly any situation in life, in this case football, the Panthers may not reach the heights of last year’s team, but will not regress as far as the forgettable 2010 campaign.

It is likely the “doom and gloom” outlook cast by NFL experts will be incorrect. However, fans pre-ordering plane tickets to Arizona for this year’s Super Bowl may wish to wait until December to see if the team is in playoff contention. As we still preview the record of the Panthers, like all fans and analysts, I have been incorrect before.

In their attempt to live up to the expectations of fans, one of the Panthers main goals in recapturing a playoff berth will be their attempt to capture another Division title.

As I analyze the teams of the NFC South, the Panthers will certainly be in an intriguing position where I can easily see them winning the division by week 14, or equally as capable of occupying the bottom of the Division cellar.

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