The Carolina Panthers have a chance to get back to .500 with a victory over the Arizona Cardinals at Bank of America Stadium in Week 4.
Another victory against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 4 would get the Carolina Panthers back to a .500 record. Considering they lost their first two games of the 2020 campaign, it is hard to deny this would be a real achievement for a young roster who is learning as they go.
New head coach Matt Rhule saw plenty of improvement from his team in their eye-catching win at the Los Angeles Chargers last weekend. There were significant improvements made on the defensive side of the ball, which enabled them to see out the contest despite the Carolina Panthers failing to make the most out of their red-zone opportunities.
There is a stiff test awaiting them in the form of the Cardinals, who have a stud quarterback in Kyler Murray and some serious weapons that can make plays at will. If the Panthers can somehow knock off a possible postseason contender, then it might make people think twice about writing off their chances during the first year of what is a substantial rebuild.
The Carolina Panthers might just be a surprise package in 2020
It is important for everyone associated with the organization not too get ahead of themselves. One win was great, but Carolina came into it on a ten-game losing run dating back to the previous season and their current situation is going to be a gradual rise to becoming a postseason contender in the future.
Confidence is high, and rightly so. The Panthers have been competitive in every game this season and finally got the first win monkey off their backs at the perfect time. A 1-2 record looks far better than 0-3, but there is just no telling what emerging from the first quarter of the season with 2-2 to show for it will do for morale.
Little is expected of Carolina at this juncture. They lost some pivotal pieces during free agency and decided to part ways with Cam Newton, who was the face of the franchise from the day he was taken No. 1 overall in 2011.
Any success they can generate during an unprecedented campaign of disruption is going to do wonders for their chances of a speedy period of transition. Plenty of people are still sleeping on Carolina despite their first victory and this element of surprise can be something else that works in their favor.
The next four games see the Panthers take on the Atlanta Falcons twice, in addition to the Chicago Bears and the New Orleans Saints. One could argue that Carolina has a shot at going .500 or possibly better from these fixtures if everything goes right, which would be a more than pleasing first half of the 2020 season.
One expects this relatively inexperienced roster to get better as they go along. We are already seeing real progress being made despite Christian McCaffrey being on the sidelines through injury and if they can continue this trend going forward, there is nothing to suggest the Panthers cannot become a more than an attractive destination for free agents in 2021 with more salary-cap space at their disposal.
A loss against the Cardinals would give some the opportunity to get the knives out once again. But it is vital that Carolina’s loyal fanbase keeps the bigger picture in mind regardless of how the result goes.