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Carolina Panthers 2014 Team Preview and Predictions

Carolina Panthers 2014 Team Preview and Predictions

Training camps kick off this week and with them comes our first major wave of preseason hype and excitement. Read on for everything you need to know about the Carolina Panthers offseason outlook and while you’re add it catch up last season’s conference champion Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks.

Last year, the Carolina Panthers had their first winning season and playoffs appearance since 2008. The fruitful season lit a fire under them, and they will very much want to succeed again come the new season. Keeping the successful past season in mind, they made some offseason moves to not just lead them to the playoffs, but also bring them success en route to a possible championship.

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Carolina Panthers Team Preview for the 2014/2015 NFL Season

Overview

2013 Regular Season Record: 12-4 SU/9-6-1 ATS

Carolina got off to a horrible start last season, going 1-3 SU in their first four games. Thankfully, they went 11-1 SU for the rest of the way, including a franchise record eight-game winning streak. Their 12-4 SU record clinched the NFC South, the team’s third divisional championship in a decade in a division that is full of perennial contenders.

[sc:NFL240banner ]The Panthers were very successful against their NFC South counterparts, finishing with a 5-1 SU division record. They fell only to the New Orleans Saints in Week 14. Matching that record this season would likely guarantee them another divisional title.

The Carolina Panthers are +4,000 to win the Super Bowl.

Offseason Highlights

The 2014 offseason saw Carolina lose a variety of options for franchise quarterback Cam Newton. The team failed to retain their top four wide receivers from last season. Previous number one wide receiver Steve Smith was released after a decline in performance saw him drop to 745 yards in 2013 from 1,174 yards in 2012. Brandon LaFell left for New England while Ted Ginn Jr. and Domenik Hixon went to Arizona and Chicago respectively.

Collectively, the four wide receivers had 156 receptions, 1,983 yards and 15 touchdown catches last season. The quartet of wide receivers will be sorely missed, especially since they were the main contributors to a Carolina offense already ranked 29th in passing yards last season. However, the Panthers are looking to improve on their offense with some new wide receivers on their roster.

The Panthers acquired Jerricho Cotchery from Pittsburgh Steelers. Cotchery had his best year since 2009 last season, catching 46 catches for a career-high 10 touchdowns. The Panthers also signed Tiquan Underwood from Tampa Bay and Jason Avant from Philadelphia.

Kelvin Benjamin

Carolina also drafted Kelvin Benjamin as the 28th pick in the first round to bolster their roster for wide receiver. Benjamin impressed Carolina during the rookie minicamp when he effortlessly caught passes in traffic. Playing for Florida State in the NCAA last year, Benjamin had 1,011 receiving yards from 54 receptions for 15 touchdowns. Among the new additions to the roster, he is the one with the potential to become Carolina’s number one receiver.

Carolina suffered a huge loss with the retirement of their excellent left tackle Jordan Gross. Inexplicably though, no one was signed or drafted to replace him. In his stead former defensive linesman Nate Chandler or the struggling right tackle Bryon Bell will be the ones to protect the Newton’s blind side.

The Panthers also made a spate of additions to their secondary with cornerback Antoine Cason and veteran safeties Roman Harper and Thomas DeCoud.

Key Betting Matchups of 2014 NFL Season

The Carolina Panthers have a lot of ground to cover since they’re starting almost an entirely new cast of wide receivers. Aside from that, they also have some more new additions and position changes when it comes to their starters and secondary. The Panthers are likely to lack team chemistry early on, but will need to suck it up to make results happen. Here are two games that will test the different roster and will tell how far the team can go for the rest of the season.

The Carolina Panthers are +300 to win NFC South.

September 28 – at Baltimore Ravens

The Week 4 showdown between the Baltimore Ravens and the Carolina Panthers will come with an intriguing backstory. Carolina’s former number one wide receiver Steve Smith was released by the team. Smith eventually ended up with the Baltimore Ravens. The jilted veteran will only have one thing in mind when he comes across his former team: payback.

October 30 – vs. New Orleans Saints

Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints will be gunning to reclaim the NFC South this year from the defending champion Panthers. Carolina will have its best opportunity to hinder the Saints’ march to the top when it hosts New Orleans in Week 9.

The Panthers look like a team that will make the Super Bowl, which makes this matchup very intriguing. If the Panthers win, then they have the luxury of boasting of a Super Bowl worthy performance. Yet, if they lose, then they will need to look at which aspects of their game need some more work.

Prediction

The Carolina Panthers will miss the veterans that they lost in the offseason. They will decline but still post a winning record of 10-6 SU.

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Kevin
Written by Kevin

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