Predicting the final 4 games as Panthers look to clinch NFC South
By Dean Jones
Carolina Panthers at Saints
The Carolina Panthers conclude their 2022 regular-season engagements with a trip to the New Orleans Saints. It hasn’t been the happiest of hunting grounds in recent years, but this is another team going through some significant complications under Dennis Allen, who replaced Sean Payton as head coach before the campaign.
New Orleans is going nowhere fast right now and they don’t possess their first-round pick – likely to be a top-five selection – following their draft trade with the Philadelphia Eagles earlier this spring. Whether it leads the Saints into a change in direction this offseason remains to be seen, but this is a game the Panthers can win after getting the road hoodoo off their backs at the Seattle Seahawks.
Prediction: Win (8-9)
Considering how bleak things looked for the Panthers earlier this season, finishing with eight wins represents a huge positive. One that would give Steve Wilks a strong case to win the head coaching job long-term.
Depending on how Sam Darnold performs, it could also lead to a short-term extension if Wilks stays around beyond 2022. And who knows, 8-9 might just be enough for the Panthers to win the NFC South and secure postseason football.
It’s still a tall order, there’s no getting away from that. But for fans, they should enjoy what’s to come over the next few weeks after so much abject failure when Matt Rhule held absolute power across the organization.