4 bold predictions for the Carolina Panthers at Seahawks in Week 14

(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Terrace Marshall Jr.
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Terrace Marshall Jr. /
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Carolina Panthers
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold /

Carolina Panthers get a turnover-free game from Sam Darnold

Even though Sam Darnold was installed as the starter because the Carolina Panthers had no viable alternative, there was a lot to like about his production overall in Week 12 against the Denver Broncos. There was newfound confidence and pre-snap command from the quarterback, who did exactly what the offense needed to ensure a comfortable victory at Bank of America Stadium.

Steve Wilks quickly named Darnold the starter following the bye week. This was enough for Baker Mayfield to ask for and be granted an early release, which saw him picked up by the Los Angeles Rams off waivers.

Darnold was in a reflective mood and had nothing but praise for Mayfield. But the onus is now firmly on the USC product to capitalize on what could be a final chance to prove his credentials as an NFL starting signal-caller.

"“First and foremost, the guy and just who he is—throughout training camp, having a competition with him and all that—he was nothing but the best to me and all the guys in the locker room and the coaching staff. Total class act—not only in training camp, but throughout the season as well with everything that happened. Him getting hurt, me and PJ [Walker] playing a little bit. Nothing but a class act. And, again, such a great teammate to have in the locker room.”"

The most important statistic surrounding Darnold on his opening start was zero turnovers. This is a far cry from what the No. 3 overall selection in 2018 produced last season and represents an encouraging foundation from which to build.

Darnold has to tackle the noise at Lumen Field and a decent defense. But if he can achieve the same feat, it could be enough for the Panthers to attain their fifth victory of 2022.