This is the Panthers’ year. Yes, Super Bowl 52 is my prediction. With Thomas Davis, Julius Peppers, Ryan Kalil , and Greg Olsen nearing the ends of their career, our time is now. The stars seem aligned for a Panthers run. Here are the four reasons I believe the Panthers are Super Bowl bound in 2017.
One up, One down:
The Panthers have had 22 seasons in our history. In that time, we have never had back to back winning seasons. Their best seasons come after poor seasons. The Panthers always have played their best when they weren’t expected to do very much. After last years’ 6 – 10 debacle, expectations around the country are pretty low for the Panthers. Though in a recent call-in poll on WFNZ, Panther fans are expecting an 11+ win season. Last year was down, this year will be up.
The combination of Cam (our most valuable player) and Luke (our best player) is too good to not do great things. So long as they stay healthy, they are just better than anyone playing their positions. Many can argue that Cam is not the best QB, but when healthy and when protected and full of positive mojo, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better one.
Better Supporting Cast:
A healthy offensive line with a bit more depth is a great foundation and the new dimension that McCaffrey and Samuel is going to add spice to the offense. It will take time for opposing defenses to catch on to what the Panthers are doing. Also, adding Peppers and Munnerlyn to the defense is going to help Luke and company. With last years’ weak links of Remmers and Boston upgraded, this team is poised to be better than the 2015 Panthers. I don’t anticipate 15-1, but I do see a Super Bowl victory.
Relatively Easier Schedule:
The Panthers have had extremely difficult schedules in recent years. Last season we started off against the defending Super Bowl champs. Make no mistake, that loss started the downward spiral. However, this season looks to be different. The Panthers start the season against the struggling 49ers. That game has to be a win. I predict that there will be so many Run CMC fans in the stands, as he has his NFL debut just down the road from Stanford, that the stadium ends up pulling for the Panthers like the Russian crowd ended up pulling for Rocky. Then we take on the Buffalo Bills. They will be better this year, but we should definitely pull away in that one. With a 2-0 start, I look for the Panthers to have the wind at their back. The rest of the year they play the Bears, the Jets and the Eagles. Yes, we do play the Falcons twice and Drew Brees is never easy, and don’t forget about Tommy Brady in Week 4. I’m predicting an 11-5 season then a run in the playoffs.
So yes, I am biased, but I am busting at the seams with confidence this year. Injuries are the one thing that could derail this train. However, for Peppers, TD, Kalil, and Olsen, it is time to make a run at the Super Bowl. In the words of the great John Cena, our time is now. Who’s with me?