Carolina Panthers

Can The Carolina Panthers Win The NFC South?

  • carolina panthers
  • Matt Rhule
  • mike davis
  • NFC South
  • NFL
  • teddy bridgewater
By Andy Davies October 15, 2020 0 Comment

The Carolina Panthers beat the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. The 23-16 win, which ultimately cost Falcons head coach Dan Quinn job, moves Carolina’s record to 3-2. After an 0-2 start, the Panthers have won 3 games in a row.

With the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ loss to the Chicago Bears in week 5 and the New Orleans Saints looking far from themselves. Can the Carolina Panthers win the NFC South?

The Carolina Panthers last won the NFC South during the 2015 season. The Panthers made it all the way to Super Bowl 50 let by MVP Cam Newton. They would end up losing 24-10 to the Denver Broncos in San Francisco.

Managing Without Their Best Player

The Panthers have made huge strides in their past three games. This has all been done without arguably the best running back in the league.

Imagine what they can do with Christian McCaffrey.

When star running back Christian McCaffrey suffered an injury in week 2, nobody thought that the Panthers would go on such a good run.

This is particularly the case when many thought their season was done. Some even had the Carolina Panthers in the Trevor Lawrence sweepstakes after two weeks.

However, the Panthers have gotten better as each week has gone by. There is an argument to be made that the Panthers have freed up their offense by not relying solely on Christian McCaffrey.

Running back Mike Davis has come in to replace McCaffrey and has done well.  He has ran for over 200 yards across the three games he has started.

With Mike Davis performing as he has done in McCaffrey’s absence, there won’t be that pressure to load all of the ball on McCaffrey.

Teddy Bridgewater’s Resurgence 

This can only be a good thing for the Carolina Panthers. Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has seen a rise in his form after a tough start for the former New Orleans Saint and Minnesota Viking.

Bridgewater suffered a terrible ACL injury in 2016 whilst with the Minnesota Vikings. Bridgewater recovered from the injury and filled in well with the Saints last season in Drew Brees’ absence. The Saints won all five games last season with Bridgewater as their starting quarterback.

However, Bridgewater is now in his first season since that 2016 injury where he is the number one starter for a franchise.

Teddy Bridgewater has thrown for four touchdowns in his last two games, which is more than the first three weeks combined. He has now thrown for 1,460 passing yards this season.

With ex quarterback Cam Newton’s disappointing last season in Carolina, Bridgewater has got the Panthers fanbase excited once again.

Crucially, Bridgewater has not been sacked his last two games, whereas he was sacked seven times across the first three weeks of the season. He was sacked five times in the week 2 31-17 loss on the road to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

This shows an improvement in protection from the Carolina Panthers offensive line.

Carolina Panthers’ Defensive Improvement

The Panthers made history by becoming the first team since the draft era began in 1967 to draft all defensive players. New head coach Matt Rhule, who joined after his time as a head coach in college football with Baylor, showed his intent in the draft.

The defense has certainly improved throughout the season. The Carolina Panthers defense failed to register a single sack in the opening two weeks of the season.

They have since recorded five sacks across weeks 3, 4 and 5.

With improvements on both sides of the ball, the Carolina Panthers are certainly making some noise in the NFL.

The Panthers were nowhere near being considered a team that can compete in the NFC South during the off season. With the Buccaneers and Saints struggling for consistency, can the Panthers pounce and take the division crown?

 

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