3 primary keys to a shock Carolina Panthers divisional crown in 2022

(Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports) D'Onta Foreman
(Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports) D'Onta Foreman /
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Nobody predicted the Carolina Panthers would be in a prime position to win the division crown, here is why they should be considered the favorites.

With four games left in the regular season, the Carolina Panthers can do something that hasn’t been achieved by the franchise in seven years: win the NFC South and host a home playoff game.

In a season that has been riddled with trials, tribulations, coaching changes, trades, and injuries, the Panthers have a chance to overcome and solidify their first postseason berth under the reign of team owner David Tepper.

But for a team that has endured so much this season and had extremely low expectations coming into the campaign, how can a division title be feasible?

It actually may be simpler than one would think. With this in mind, here are three keys to Carolina triumphing over their NFC South rivals in 2022.

Key No. 1

Carolina Panthers
(Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports) D’Onta Foreman /

Carolina Panthers must run the football

For a team that ranks No. 30 in passing yards per game and total yards per game, No. 24 in points scored per game, and No. 31 in time of possession, the Carolina Panthers have a strong rushing attack that ranks No. 13 in the NFL.

Why is this important? Continuing to run the football can be vital to the Panthers’ success, with three of the next four opponents having suspect run defenses.

Carolina’s next opponent, the Pittsburgh Steelers, has the 15th-ranked run defense in the NFL, which will be the highest-ranked opponent left to play. The final three rank 26th, 20th, and 19th in rush defense respectively, giving the Panthers a good chance of playing to their strengths.

When running for over 100 yards this season, the Panthers have five wins to just two losses. The team is 0-6 when rushing for fewer than 100 yards, which tells fans all they need to know.