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Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Carolina Panthers - 2021 NFL Season Preview & Win Total Predictions

Year Two of the Matt Rhule reign in Carolina will get kickoff with hopes of improving on last season’s 5-11 record. The Panthers decided that Teddy Bridgewater was not their long-term option and QB and traded for former number three overall pick Sam Darnold. With improved coaching and blocking in Carolina, Darnold could potentially live up to his draft status.

The Carolina offense revolves around RB Christian McCaffrey, who missed most of last year with injuries after rushing for 1,387 yards in 2019. WR D.J. Moore has eclipsed 1,000 yards receiving in back-to-back seasons and will be far better than any option Darnold had to work with in New York.

With the elite offensive talent in the NFC South Division, Matt Rhule decided to draft heavily on defense coming into last year. The Panthers got off to a rough start on defense, but were much better in the second half of the season. DT Derrick Brown was a big reason for the turnaround and DE Brian Burns has shown the ability to get after the passer.

The Panthers signed LB Denzel Perryman to a contract in the offseason to help bolster a run defense that allowed 121 yards per game. Number eight overall pick Jaycee Horn is talented enough to start at CB for Carolina in week one.

Free NFL Pick:

OVER 7.5 WINS

The Carolina Panthers figure to be much improved this season and their ceiling will be determined by how well Darnold can play. The Panthers may not be ready to challenge for the division title, but should be able to exceed expectations. Final Season Prediction, Carolina Panthers Over 7.5 Wins.

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