Bold prediction would be dream scenario for Carolina Panthers in 2024

Could the Carolina Panthers surprise people next season?
Dave Canales
Dave Canales / Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

One doesn't have to look far around the national media for ridicule and criticism where the Carolina Panthers are concerned. This is deserved after one of the most embarrassing seasons in franchise history. Something that left them without a primetime game in 2024 and the reputation for being the league's laughingstock until further notice.

Dan Morgan and Dave Canales made steps to ensure respectability returns to the franchise. They've identified problem areas and adopted a business-first model with a long-term plan. It's relatively early in another vast rebuild, but fans are starting to believe the Panthers might get things right.

Whether this amounts to any legitimate growth in 2024 is a different matter. Most don't anticipate the Panthers to win many games looking at record projections. That said, they could be a surprise most teams don't see coming if Canales works his magic on quarterback Bryce Young.

Carolina Panthers tipped to be a fringe playoff team in 2024

This was a sentiment echoed by Adam Chernoff. The NFL analyst is bullish on Carolina's chances of emerging from disgrace next season. He even boldly claimed they were a fringe playoff team thanks to Canales' sterling work with struggling quarterbacks previously.

"I think they're a fringe NFC Wild Card team. This is putting Bryce Young in a much better position with the modern coaching staff that is coming in led by Dave Canales. He's got competent coaches coaching. And to me, this looks a lot like the Jags in 2021 and 2022 you have (Trevor) Lawrence coming in at QB and was in a very bad coaching staff situation. Expectations came way down after year one, year two…there's the playoff run. I think the Panthers, in a weak division in the South set up very similarly. I think it's a great coaching staff and an organization that's going to compete for that spot of a Wild Card in the NFC."

Adam Chernoff via Fan Nation

This would be a dream come true. The Panthers won two games last season and were blown out constantly as another campaign spiraled into oblivion under David Tepper's ownership. Young's development with Canales leading the charge is key, but the signal-caller needs help.

He needs the revamped offensive line to remain healthy and become cohesive. Young needs his pass-catchers to make targets count and create separation more effectively. The former Alabama star also requires Carolina's running backs to keep opposing defenses honest.

That's without taking into account the questions defensively. Ejiro Evero lost some key names this offseason, so he must ensure the new faces all hit the ground running. The Panthers must also develop their young stars enough so they can be counted upon.

There's a chance Carolina can rise from the proverbial ashes and make more noise. Expecting them to be fighting for playoff contention during Canales' debut campaign as head coach would be better than even the brightest optimist predicted.

The consensus over/under win total for the Panthers among sportsbooks stands at 4.5. This is a fair reflection of their current standing, but Chernoff's bold prediction would blow this out of the water. With a little bit of luck and a fresh injection of progressive ideas, who knows what this perennial bottom feeder could accomplish?

Even if the Panthers aren't in the postseason, gradual growth is an attainable objective for Canales and his players. If they're playing meaningful games after Thanksgiving, that's a sign things are trending upward at long last.

However, it's a fine line.