Will the Panthers make the playoffs?
LAS VEGAS, NV (The Spread) - The Carolina Panthers won a division title last season but will they take a massive step back in 2014?
According to oddsmakers from online sports book Bovada.lv, the Panthers currently have odds of 2/1 to make the playoffs and 5/13 odds to miss the postseason altogether. Their win total for the '14 regular season has also been set at 8.5 while their 2015 Super Bowl odds are now 40/1.
The Panthers suffered some signifcant losses this offseason, specifically along the offensive line where Geoff Hangartner, Jordan Gross, Jeff Byers and Travelle Wharton all retired. Receiver Steve Smith was also released while Brandon LaFell (Patriots), Ted Ginn (Cardinals) and Domenik Hixon (Bears) signed with other teams.
All of this has left the Panthers either thin or inexperienced at those two positions. And while it's true that their offense will continue to be predicated on the three-headed rushing monster of Cam Newton, DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart, the passing game could be a major Achilles' heel for the team this season.
Defensively the Panthers have one of the best front sevens in football but just like the passing game offensively, their secondary is a question mark heading into 2014. After winning the NFC South a year ago and hosting a playoff game, it would appear as though the Panthers took a step back in the offseason as opposed to building off of that appearance. The better odds are Carolina at 5/13 to not make the playoffs.