5 Panthers players that must perform for a surprise 2021 playoff berth

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Sam Darnold
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Sam Darnold /
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Carolina Panthers
(Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports) Christian McCaffrey /

Christian McCaffrey – Carolina Panthers RB

Much has been made about just what exactly transpired with Christian McCaffrey last season. An unbelievable workload over his first three years on the Carolina Panthers appeared to finally catch up with the running back, who appeared in just three games due to various injury problems.

This is something that cannot happen again if the Panthers want to enter the playoff picture.

Keeping McCaffrey fit is essential to their hopes. Carolina has more than enough weapons to take some of the load off, at the very least. So it’ll be about maximizing the All-Pro’s production rather than constantly leaning on him moving forward.

McCaffrey goes into 2021 with a big point to prove.

Rumors of the Stanford product being included in a deal to land quarterback Deshaun Watson from the Houston Texans did not go unnoticed. There are also some analysts who have clearly forgotten what he can do on the field judging by various national media rankings of late.

All fuel to the fire.

And this cannot be anything other than good news for the Panthers.

If McCaffrey gets back to the form of old and remains healthy for the 17-game schedule, then a trip to the postseason is not out of the realms of possibility.

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Many other factors are sure to come into play as the campaign progresses. But everything good will continue to go through Carolina’s face of the franchise until proven otherwise.