Carolina Panthers at Jaguars - Week 17
The Jacksonville Jaguars are being tipped by many to make noise in the highly competitive AFC. While they might win a less-than-stellar division once again, going any further will be dependent on their progressive defense and Trevor Lawrence's projected third-year leap.
Both teams should be right in the thick of things if these predictions are accurate. The Carolina Panthers won't want to lose momentum at a difficult time as Frank Reich goes up against a head coach in Doug Pederson who he helped win a Super Bowl during their time together on the Philadelphia Eagles.
Prediction: Loss (8-8)
The margin for error is slim. But the Jaguars offense and its expected potency could mean the Panthers are left with nothing to show for their efforts.
Carolina Panthers vs. Buccaneers - Week 18
What better way to end the season than with a home game against one of their NFC South rivals? And as previously stated, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are not the force of old.
It would be a surprise if the Buccaneers were anywhere close to the playoffs at this stage. For the Panthers, getting to 9-8 might be enough within a weak-looking NFC aside from the Eagles, San Francisco 49ers, and Dallas Cowboys.
Prediction: Win (9-8)
Considering the vast changes made across the franchise this offseason, emerging with a winning record from the 2023 campaign would be a big plus for head coach Frank Reich and rookie quarterback Bryce Young. Whether it results in postseason involvement is another matter.