2015 Carolina Predictions
The Carolina Panthers enter the 2015-16 NFL Season as back-to-back NFC South champions, yet that hardly makes them a favorite to do so a third time. This group took full advantage of a weak division last season, and it has a clear goal of improving upon a 7-8-1 record.
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2014 Record: 7-8-1 – Panthers
Panthers Odds to win the 2016 NFC South Division: +200
Panthers Odds to win the 2016 NFC Conference: 22/1
Panthers Odds to win the 2016 Super Bowl: 40/1
Let’s take a look at the numbers:
Last season, Carolina put up 21.2 points per contest, which was only good enough for 19th in the NFL. They passed for 219.4 yards per game (also 19th), but established themselves as a top-10 rushing team, accumulating 127.3 yards per week on the ground (7th).
In total, the Panthers racked up 346.7 yards per game, which put them at 16th in the league between Cincinnati (15th) and Houston (17th).
The reason for the success on the ground was Jonathan Stewart adding a level to his game and becoming a true focus of the offense. Kelvin Benjamin also emerged as a reliable option catching the football, which Cam Newton will look to build upon in 2015-16, but with DeAngelo Williams off the roster, Stewart will look to have another breakout year and truly make a name for himself across the league.
Although you can say this about virtually every team in the NFL, it’s especially important that Carolina keeps Newton healthy. He had trouble staying in a standing position last season, and Carolina can put that on its offensive line.
Defensively, Carolina has a solid group that gave up just 15 points per game in its last six of last season. That’s momentum this team can look to build upon as well.
The secondary was terrific toward the conclusion of 2015-16. Even better is that the same core is back and ready to do it again this season.
The loss of Greg Hardy could cause problems for this team, but it still has Charles Johnson to take over the role of disrupting quarterback flow.
Panthers 2015 Betting Outlook:
If we know one thing about this Carolina Panthers squad, it’s that they’re going to succeed on defense. That, however, may be the one thing we know, which is why the team’s outlook really comes down to how successful — and more specific: how consistent — it can be on the other side of the ball.
With a new contract extension, Newton needs to be the man on this year’s squad. Stewart also needs to take his game to another level — especially considering he really has no true backup at this point in the process — but Newton needs to be the $100 million-plus quarterback that Carolina has made him.
Unfortunately for this group, there’s a solid chance based on history alone that one of these two offensive leaders misses time to injury. The team’s offensive line doesn’t look much better than it did a year ago, which is hardly a recipe for success.
If the Panthers can get to 10 wins, there’s a very good chance they win their third straight NFC South title. But they’re going to need their defense to steal a few games in order to do just that.
With training camps under way the NFL betting season is here at Cappers Picks. NFL Football handicappers have been hard at work putting out the team by team 2015 Football Predictions and NFL Season Previews for those of us who can’t wait.
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