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Carolina Panthers 2018-19 Season Preview

by Daniel Gerbick on Tuesday, August 28th, 2018

cam newton carolina panthersThe Carolina Panthers are one of three teams in the NFC South to make the playoffs last season and this year, judging by their additions, they are looking to make a deeper postseason run.

The Panthers fired offensive coordinator Mike Shula and brought in the experienced Norv Turner to replace him. This move could benefit quarterback Cam Newton as he’s an experienced coordinator that could maximize the strengths of the signal caller as a downfield passer and help take some pressure off him by boosting the running game. If this happens, Newton could go back to his MVP level of play when he led his team to the Super Bowl.

A boost to the running game could also benefit multi-talented running back Christian McCaffrey, who this year could be a bigger part of the rushing attack and get involved more often in the passing game.

The Panthers also improved a passing defense that last year had major issues in stopping big plays and creating turnovers as they finished the season with just seven interceptions. For that, they added players such as Lorenzo Doss, DaNorris Searcy and rookie Dante Jackson, who was selected in the second round of the NFL draft out of LSU.

The Panthers are extremely deep at linebacker and this is a unit led by Luke Kuechly, who is arguably the best at his position in the NFL. His impact is huge as he is considered the quarterback of their defense. Other key players in this unit are the versatile Shaq Thompson and Thomas Davis, who although he’s been suspended four games for using performance-enhancing drugs, will boost the defense as soon as he comes back.

On offense, everything revolves around Newton. As long as he’s healthy he will be extremely productive and gives the Panthers a chance in every single game, regardless of the opponent. To help boost Newton’s passing numbers this season the Panthers added Torrey Smith, who was acquired in a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles.

If the Panthers offensive line gels this season and does a good job of protecting Newton, he could be in for a big season. If that happens and the Panthers offense ranks in the top ten their road to the playoffs will be a lot easier.

Also, the pass secondary and the offensive line must improve this year. Those units need to become team assets, instead of liabilities if they want to have a deeper postseason run.

Although the secondary might improve considerably it’s hard to see the Panthers offensive line having the kind of year that Turner wants and Newton needs. This will translate into Newton lacking protection and the running backs struggling to find holes consistently enough to beat teams such as the New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons in the standings.

Expect them to finish third in the NFC South and stay in contention to make the playoffs, which they could accomplish if they reach double-digit wins. The NFC South will be extremely competitive in 2018 and it wouldn’t be surprising if they end up sending three teams to the playoffs once again.

Predicted Record: 10-6

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