Panthers Season Win Total Prediction
How many games will the Carolina Panthers win in 2017? Will they bounce back enough to win at least nine games?
According to oddsmakers from online sports book Bovada.lv, the Panthers have an over/under of 9 for number of wins in 2017. Carolina is also a 30/1 long shot to win the Super Bowl and has odds of 13/1 to win the NFC Conference Championship and represent the NFC in the NFL title game. Finally, the Panthers have odds of 11/5 to win the NFC South Division in 2017.
The Panthers return a lot of the components that lead them to the Super Bowl two seasons ago, starting with quarterback Cam Newton. Kelvin Benjamin and Devin Funchess also return, as does running back Jonathan Stewart. He'll have a new backfield mate in first-round pick Christian McCaffrey, who will impact both the running and passing game. Tight end Greg Olsen remains one of Newton's favorite weapons in the passing game.
Defensively, the Panthers are once again loaded along the defensive line and at linebacker. Charles Johnson, Star Lotulelei, and Kawann Short are all back, while Julius Peppers returns to Carolina after heading to Chicago and then Green Bay in free agency. Luke Kuechly remains the heart and sole of the unit, while Thomas Davis and Shaq Thompson will flank Kuechly as Carolina has one of the better linebacker units in the NFL.
Our Prediction: My biggest question regarding the Panthers is Newton's health. He's been limited in training camp due to soreness in his surgically-repaired shoulder. The Panthers want to protect Newton as much as possible and didn't call many designed runs after he suffered a concussion early last season. But while they may keep Newton upright, they'll also limit how explosive their offense can be when they're using him as a weapon in the running game. Adding McCaffrey helps in the short-to-intermediate game, Newton also struggles with his accuracy in that range. The bottom line is, this team is much better than it showed a year ago but I still have questions about Newton's health and how this offense will come together. It's better on paper, but I don't think it'll be as explosive as it was two seasons ago. Thus, I'm rolling the dice on the under.
NFL SEASON WIN TOTAL PREDICTION: CAROLINA PANTHERS UNDER 9 WINS