4 Panthers players crucial to potential shock NFC South title challenge

(Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports) Shaq Thompson
(Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports) Shaq Thompson /
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Which Carolina Panthers players will be crucial if the team wants to mount a shock NFC South title challenge under interim head coach Steve Wilks in 2022?

Well, that was unexpected. After trading away the face of the franchise in a move that many said would be the end of the Carolina Panthers season, this underdog squad silenced all that noise in a truly spectacular way.

Yes, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have not been the same team that decimated the Kansas City Cheifs. However, any team with a roster as seemingly complete as theirs should at least on paper run roughshod over this Panthers team.

But as the old saying goes, there is a reason they play the game.

It was as if the Buccaneers could never recover from that early drop from the typically sure-handed Mike Evans. A catch that would have been the easiest touchdown of his career within the first few minutes of the game and they just looked flat from then on.

This was truly a masterpiece of coaching and defensive prowess from the Panthers. The team adjusted at halftime and changed up its plan with far more success than at any stage during the Matt Rhule era.

The Panthers have the chance to take control of the NFC South in Week 8 as they visit the upstart Atlanta Falcons in a matchup that has much more meaning than anyone foresaw just a few short weeks ago.

With this in mind, here are four Panthers players who’ll be pivotal to a shock divisional title challenge in 2022.