Trying to look into the future and predict future NFL games is a difficult task. With all of the changes that are currently shaking up the league, it’s hard to foresee how the 2012-13 season will pan out. However, let’s look into my crystal ball and make some predictions on the Panthers’ upcoming season.
With all of the uncertainties surrounding many NFL teams, one thing is for sure; the NFC South is up for grabs. The New Orleans Saints have been recent favorites over the past few years, but the scandals surrounding the team have been well documented, and when it rains, it pours. With new allegations surrounding general manager Mickey Loomis, the Saints organization is in the midst of an unprecedented tailspin. No one knows how much of an effect this will have on the team’s performance, but assuming the Saints struggle, the early NFC South favorites have to be the Falcons and the Panthers.
That being said, let’s take a look at this biased Panthers fan’s picks for next season.
Week 1: @ Tampa Bay
This should be an easy victory for Carolina. With new coach Greg Schiano and a young defense, the Bucs are a team that could be a force in the future, but Cam Newton and Carolina’s potent offense will be too much to handle for them in this game.
Panthers win, 37-17
Week 2: New Orleans
I can’t wait for this game. By week 2, the Saints will still be struggling, with many of their star defensive players presumably suspended.
Panthers win, 24-21
Week 3: New York Giants
I don’t like this matchup at all. The G-Men will be riding high on their Super Bowl victory, and that D-line will be too much for Carolina to handle.
Panthers get stomped and lose, 35-14
Week 4: @ Atlanta
Tough game for Panther Nation. Going into the Georgia Dome and facing the dirty birds will prove to be a daunting task.
Panthers lose, dropping a second straight game, 21-17
Week 5: Seattle
Easy win for Carolina. Pete Carroll should go back to coaching college football, where he belongs.
Panthers dominate and win, 35-14
Week 6: Bye
Week 7: Dallas
Bring it on, Cowboys! Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan is the most overrated coach in football, and I can’t wait for Cam and Co. to keep that frown on his face.
Panthers win, 31-21
Week 8: @ Chicago
With the addition of WR Brandon Marshall, the Bears are my sleeper Super Bowl contenders this season. Chicago will prove to be too tough for the Panthers at Soldier Field.
Panthers lose, 21-14
Week 9: @ Washington
This will be an intriguing game. The outcome entirely depends on the play of RG 3, but I think our defense steps up and forces at least 3 turnovers. Redskins fans continue to be disappointed with the result of this game.
Panthers get a big win, 28-21
Week 10: Denver
With the Tim Tebow circus exiting Denver and arriving in New York (what a perfect fit), the Broncos finally have that monkey off their backs. Peyton Manning is going to be Peyton Manning, and Carolina is going to end up disappointing the home crowd in this one.
Panthers lose, 28-14
Week 11: Tampa Bay
This game will be closer than the beatdown we give in week 1, but Cam Newton has a stellar game and leads us to victory at Bank of America Stadium.
Panthers win, 35-24
Week 12: @ Philly
What a game this will be. Lots of scoring, and not a lot of defense. This game could go either way, but Cam ends up outshining the Vick show.
Panthers win, 42-38
Week 13: @ Kansas City
Don’t sleep on this Chiefs team this season. RB Jamaal Charles and safety Eric Berry return for a vastly improved KC squad, but Carolina pulls out a gutsy win on the road.
Panthers hold on to win, 27-20
Week 14: Atlanta
It’s time for some revenge. After losing to the Falcons earlier in the season, Ron Rivera is going to have his team ready to play. This will be a very close game, but the Panthers defense forces a late turnover to seal the victory.
Panthers come through with a W at home, 24-17
Week 15: @ San Diego
After a disappointing 2011 campaign, Philip Rivers and company will be ready to make a run at the playoffs in 2012. If this game was at home, I would predict a win for Panther Nation. However, at home I like the Chargers to win this one.
Panthers get their winning streak snapped with a loss, 30-21
Week 16: Oakland
No-doubt win for Carolina. The Raiders are an improving team, but double trouble has a field day in this matchup, as the Panthers improve to 10-5.
Panthers win, 31-17
Week 17: @ New Orleans
This will be a tough game to end the regular season with. Despite all of the turmoil surrounding the Saints, they still have a guy named Drew Brees at the helm. New Orleans picks apart our secondary in this one, and Cam Newton has an uncharacteristic poor performance, as the Saints prove to be too tough at home. Panthers end the season on a sour note with a loss, 38-31
With a 10-6 season, The Panthers lock up a playoff berth and become a dangerous team entering the postseason. This would be a massive improvement from last season’s 6-10 record, but given the team’s schedule and the hope that the Panthers stay relatively healthy, it’s a very plausible outcome. Only time will tell, but Panther Nation could be having a whole lot of fun this season.