With training camp just a matter of days away, news sources and analysts alike are beginning to release their predictions for each NFL franchise. While some predictions these analysts make are a little far-fetched, nothing can be ruled out just yet as the season has yet to kickoff. Now, let’s get one thing straight before we dive head-first into this list. A “bold” prediction is simply a prediction of something we think has a chance to happen, but will be slightly difficult for a team to accomplish. So, with that being said, we have compiled a list of five bold predictions for the Carolina Panthers during the 2019 season!
2019 Carolina Panthers: Five Bold Predictions
1: The Panthers Offensive Line Will Be a Top-10 Unit in the NFL
This particular prediction may not be as far-fetched as it seems. While the Panthers struggled to protect franchise cornerstone Cam Newton in 2018, the same won’t be said about the squad during the 2019 season. During free agency, the Panthers picked up veteran center Matt Paradis and brought back star tackle Daryl Williams on a one-year “prove it” deal. The group also drafted Greg Little with their second-round selection of 2019, providing the team with a competent replacement should the unit suffer a major injury during the course of the season.
The talent doesn’t end there though, seeing as the Panthers also have Pro Bowl guard Trai Turner holding down the right guard spot. Greg Van Roten also proved to be a starting-caliber guard during the 2018 season, finishing with a final grade of 59.8 from Pro Football Focus. With all this talent and veteran presence up front, don’t be surprised if the Panthers finish with a top-ten offensive line at the end of the 2019 season.
2: Christian McCaffrey Will Join the 1,000 Receiving Yards, 1,000 Rushing Yards Club During 2019
This is another one that may not be as crazy as it seems. After having one of the best seasons in running back history in 2018, Christian McCaffrey seems primed to build on that success in 2019. Behind a less-than-desirable offensive line, McCaffrey racked up 1,098 on 219 carries while also finishing with 867 yards on 107 catches during 2019. Now, with a solid offensive line to make room for him to run, McCaffrey should continue to flourish under Norv Turner’s offensive scheme. While the Panthers are looking to lighten McCaffrey’s workload in 2019, the 23-year-old still is capable of achieving this feat. McCaffrey has displayed his versatility when it comes to rushing and passing, so there’s little doubt that he has the potential to join this prestigious club in 2019.
3: Cam Newton Will Become an MVP Candidate Once Again
This one may be the one that surprises readers the most. So, give us the benefit of the doubt and let us explain why this is a possibility. Cam Newton may be stepping into the best situation of his career in 2019. With a much improved offensive line protecting him during the upcoming season, Newton should feel confident that he will get the necessary time in the pocket he needs to succeed.
Newton also has arguably the best weapons he’s ever had surrounding him in 2019. The Panthers will likely have the two speedy wide-outs Curtis Samuel and D.J. Moore holding down the primary wide receiver positions, while competent veterans, like Chris Hogan and Torrey Smith, will man the WR3 position.
After witnessing McCaffrey ball out during the 2018 season, Newton should feel confident that he has a running back he can go to late in games and get solid production from. Of course, long-time Panthers tight end Greg Olsen will return to the field for yet another season, providing Newton with a dependable set of hands out there in the passing game. With all these high-quality weapons surrounding Newton, there should be no reason why the 30-year-old quarterback can’t reach that MVP-type level of production once again in 2019.
4: The Panthers’ Secondary Will Finish Among the Top-Fifteen in Interceptions
Man oh man do the Panthers have a scary defensive line! Capped off with veterans like six-time Pro-Bowler Gerald McCoy and star pass-rusher Mario Addison, there should be little doubt that this franchise has one of the best D-lines in the NFL. But, you may be wondering why we’re talking about the D-line when this point is about the secondary and their interception numbers and I’m here to explain why the two go hand-in-hand.
You see, when a pass rusher is able to lower a hit or disrupt a pass thrown by a quarterback, this often creates a bad pass. Bad passes usually fall incomplete or are picked off, with the Panthers hoping the latter happens more often than the first option. If the Panthers’ D-line can provide constant pressure on opposing quarterbacks, the number of bad and reckless passes they throw will go up. This is great news for a group of secondary players who have struggled to rack up interceptions in the last few seasons.
If the Panthers’ D-line can provide a nice amount of pressure on opposing quarterbacks each play, don’t be surprised if this secondary finishes with one of the highest number of interceptions in the league.
5: The Panthers Will Win The NFC South
Now, this one will be a head-scratcher for some and, look, we get it. But, just give us a few moments to prove our point on this one. The Panthers are in win-now mode. That much became clear after the team made several big splashes in free agency and the draft. Behind a steady offensive line, if not the best in the NFC South, Newton should return to MVP form. The Panthers have stacked their defensive depth chart with big name players who can just flat-out ball. They will likely have one of the best D-lines in all of football and will be a force to be reckoned with on every defensive down.
Not only is the defense stacked with talent, but the offense is too. With two young, competent future stars in Curtis Samuel and D.J. Moore running the show alongside veterans like Chris Hogan, anything is possible for this Panthers’ offense. While we do believe the NFC South will be a dog fight in 2019, we do give the Panthers a puncher’s chance to win the division this season. The Panthers are filled with talent from top to bottom, and with an experienced quarterback like Cam Newton at the helm, there’s no telling just how good this Panthers squad will be in 2019.