4 bold predictions for the Carolina Panthers after 2022 bye week

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Brian Burns
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Brian Burns /
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Bold predictions for the Carolina Panthers as they look to finish their 2022 campaign on a positive note following the all-important bye week.

Where there was once nothing but misery, there is hope. Things aren’t perfect where the Carolina Panthers are concerned – not by a long shot, actually – but the gradual progression coming under Steve Wilks’ leadership means their perilous predicament earlier in the campaign is firmly in the rearview mirror.

Achieving stability in the face of complete turmoil has been a tough challenge for Wilks. A lot of hard work remains, but there is a good opportunity for the Panthers to emerge from their bye week with renewed purpose in the hope of finishing strongly.

It’s been a long time since the Panthers played meaningful football in December. Much will depend on how tonight’s game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New Orleans Saints goes, but Carolina could still be in with a shot at winning the NFC South, which is not exactly blessed with quality in 2022.

Looking ahead, we made four bold predictions for the Panthers following the team’s extended period of rest.

Bold Prediction No. 1

Carolina Panthers
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Ikem Ekwonu /

Ikem Ekwonu doesn’t concede another sack

After getting the rudest of awakenings against Myles Garrett in Week 1, left tackle Ikem Ekwonu has been almost flawless in pass protection ever since. The Carolina Panthers made the correct call by selecting the supreme offensive lineman at No. 6 overall and based on his rookie campaign to date, this is a franchise cornerstone to build around.

Ekwonu hasn’t given up a sack since Week 2. This is an extraordinary statistic considering how the blindside presence was seen as a work in progress in obvious passing situations during his pre-draft evaluation.

If Ekwonu can extend this streak over the next five games, then the North Carolina State product’s first campaign would have been an extremely successful one.