What chance do the Carolina Panthers have of making the playoffs in 2020?
It is undoubtedly a case of all change at the Carolina Panthers heading into 2020. The franchise has officially begun to rebuild after a flurry of activity that has left parts of the roster unrecognizable from the one that ended the 2019 campaign.
The defense of the Carolina Panthers now looks energetic and athletic. Even if it is lacking in any prominent experience outside of probably four starters. Their fortunes will ultimately come down to how this young group performs against some of the more explosive offenses in the NFL.
ESPN recently predicted every team’s chances of making the postseason using their FPI model that involved no fewer than 20,000 season simulations. It comes as no surprise that the Carolina Panthers were one of the lowest-ranked teams, with their average win total coming in at 5.7.
If head coach Matt Rhule wants to make an impact during his first season at the helm. It is going to come against the consensus opinion of experts across the country. This was no different in the ESPN simulation, which gave the Panthers only a seven percent chance of making the postseason.
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Their ranking was 29th in the NFL, which would be the worst-case scenario for the organization. It would likely put them out of the running to draft a potentially franchise-changing quarterback like Trevor Lawrence or Justin Fields. And Oregon’s stud left tackle Penei Sewell should also be gone in the first three picks if he continues an upward curve.
The Kansas City Chiefs came out on top in the standings, narrowly ahead of expected AFC Championship rival Baltimore Ravens in second. The highest-ranked NFC franchise was the San Francisco 49ers, with the Panthers’ NFC South counterpart New Orleans Saints at No. 4.
Can the Carolina Panthers make an unlikely playoff push?
Things do not look good for the Carolina Panthers in terms of any aspirations they may have for the postseason in 2020. Realistically speaking, Matt Rhule and the coaching staff will not be setting this as a target during the first year of their roster transformation.
They find themselves in a division that now has two formidable sides with Super Bowl ambitions. And the remaining teams on the schedule offer little cause for optimism.
That being said, if the Panthers can gel quickly there is definite potential to become one of the leagues surprise packages next season. They have game-changing players on offense and a new coordinator in Joe Brady who is not afraid to move the ball down the field early and often during games.
Providing Teddy Bridgewater gets time to go through his progressions. The Panthers should be able to put plenty of points on the board regardless of the opposition. This could provide the catalyst behind their defensive front getting more freedom to get after the quarterback, which also looks to be a position of real strength heading into 2020.
The over-under of 5.5 wins for the Panthers seems realistic. And it would be foolish of their fanbase to expect anything significantly higher. This is a franchise that has big plans off the field in the coming years. So it will be up to Rhule and others to ensure they have the team to match by the time these proposals become reality.
The playoff might be a pipe dream next season. But the Panthers need to look at the bigger picture.