Carolina Panthers NFL Season Recap

Carolina Panthers NFL Betting Odds

Carolina Panthers NFL Betting

The Carolina Panthers weren’t expected to contend for a playoff spot in the first season of a rebuild under new head coach Matt Rhule. There were promising signs at the beginning of the year when they owned first place in the tough NFC North winning three of their first five games. Then reality set in. The Panthers lost nine of their final 11 games to end the season at 5-11 for the second straight year. Teams that fail to reach the postseason are always under a microscope and the Panthers are no different. Rhule isn’t going anywhere, but the club is searching for a new GM to help reconstruct a franchise that’s gone three consecutive years with a losing record and no postseason berth.

Carolina Panthers Season Review

It was hard to fairly assess the offense since Christian McCaffrey played only three games all season. Taking the previous season’s leader in scrimmage yards and total touchdowns off the field was a crippling blow. The club also moved on from former MVP and No. 1 overall draft pick Cam Newton by signing Teddy Bridgewater to take over behind center. It was a risky move since Bridgewater hadn’t been a starter since before tearing up his knee a few years ago while with Minnesota.

In their limited time on the field together the pair showed promise. The Panthers scored 30 or more points in a game just three times all season, two of those games where when McCaffrey dressed. Carolina lost the season opener 34-30 to Las Vegas and when McCaffrey returned for a Week 9 bout with the reigning Super Bowl champion Chiefs the Panthers experienced one of their close losses, 33-31. It was evident Bridgewater couldn’t do it by himself. He did have a solid season completing a career-high 69.1 percent of his passes for 3,733 yards, but the offense lacked explosiveness. Bridgewater had just 15 touchdown passes and 11 interceptions. Things might have been different had McCaffrey been around, but we’ll never know.

The loss of McCaffrey allowed journeyman Mike Davis to flourish in the starting role. His numbers weren’t nearly as good as those of the man he replaced, but Davis enjoyed a renaissance after bouncing between three teams in his first five years in the league. Davis rushed for 642 yards with six touchdowns with an additional 373 yards and two scores on 59 receptions. He gives the team a valuable option next season behind McCaffrey.

The Panthers averaged 21.9 points per game and were held to 20 points or less six times. They went 1-5 in those games needing to pitch a shutout against Detroit for their only victory in those contests.  That 20-0 victory in Week 11 came with backup P.J. Walker getting the start after Bridgewater was hurt the week before, and it stopped a five-game losing streak that saw the Panthers drop to 3-7 after their promising start. The question heading into the offseason is whether or not Bridgewater is the guy moving forward. The Panthers have a top draft pick based on their record and they have plenty of holes to fill. Could quarterback be one of them?

While they may have lacked the overall talent to compete against the best teams in the league, the Panthers played with a lot of heart and never quit, which is a testament to Rhule and what he’s trying to build. Eight of their 11 losses were by one possession, including a 2-point setback to Kansas City, a 3-point defeat to division champ New Orleans and an 8-point road loss to the NFC-best Green Bay Packers. In the end they all count the same, but at least it’s a promising sign that with better talent those games might end with a different outcome.

Defensively the Panthers were inconsistent, but they showed signs that the group could be a lot stronger moving forward. They allowed 360.1 yards and 25.1 points per game to finish 18th and they managed just seven interceptions for the second-fewest in the NFL. The group was opportunistic, though, with a league high 15 fumble recoveries and a plus-1 turnover margin. The highlight came against Minnesota in Week 11 when Jeremy Chinn returned a fumble for a touchdown on consecutive plays. However, even that couldn’t prevent the Panthers from losing. They blew a 21-10 lead and fell 28-27.

There are some pieces in place and Rhule will get the most out of his roster. Strengthening the secondary and the middle level of the defense is a top priority on that side of the football this offseason. And the club has to decide on the direction of the offense. Rhule didn’t commit to Bridgewater for next season leaving open the possibility of a quarterback being drafted with the eighth overall pick. Bridgewater had opportunities to cement his role but failed. Two end zone picks in the finale didn’t help and he was 0-8 in games the Panthers had a chance to tie or take the lead on their final possession.

“We’ll have to wait and see in terms with any moves we make in the offseason and where we’re headed, both at the quarterback position and any position,” Rhule said.

Carolina Panthers Schedule & Results

Week 1 vs Las Vegas Raiders L 30-34 0-1
Week 2 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers L 17-31 0-2
Week 3 at Los Angeles Chargers W 21-16 1-2
Week 4 vs Arizona Cardinals W 31-21 2-2
Week 5 at Atlanta Falcons W 23-16 3-2
Week 6 vs Chicago Bears L 16-23 3-3
Week 7 at New Orleans Saints L 24-27 3-4
Week 8 vs Atlanta Falcons L 17-25 3-5
Week 9 at Kansas City Chiefs L 31-33 3-6
Week 10 vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers L 23-46 3-7
Week 11 vs Detroit Lions W 20-0 4-7
Week 12 at Minnesota Vikings L 27-28 4-8
Week 13 BYE WEEK
Week 14 vs Denver Broncos L 27-32 4-9
Week 15 at Green Bay Packers L 16-24 4-10
Week 16 at Washington W 20-13 5-10
Week 17 vs New Orleans Saints L 7-33 5-11
NFL Football Picks

Panthers Past Seasons (2000)

2020 5-11 None
2019 5-11 None
2018 7-9 None
2017 11-5 Lost Wild Card Round
2016 6-10 None
2015 15-1 Lost Super Bowl
2014 7-8-1 Lost Divisional Round
2013 12-4 Lost Divisional Round
2012 7-9 None
2011 6-10 None
2010 2-14 None
2009 8-8 None
2008 12-4 Lost Divisional Round
2007 7-9 None
2006 8-8 None
2005 11-5 Lost Conference Championship
2004 7-9 None
2003 11-5 Lost Super Bowl
2002 7-9 None
2001 1-15 None
2000 7-9 None

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