Carolina Panthers: History says double digit wins coming in 2019

Cam Newton (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Cam Newton (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /

The numbers don’t lie and history is on the side of the Carolina Panthers in 2019. The team will record double digit wins according to the data. Now they just need to add a few playmakers.

The Carolina Panthers might be the hinge point of the league and the draft, where bad teams turn into good teams. Carolina is a borderline good team with bad-team tendencies. So which side of the line will they fall on?

History paints a clear picture of how the Panthers will do in 2019, and its a brilliant mosaic. The team is headed towards double digit wins, if the numbers hold true. What must happen for them to actually get there this season?

Two brothers from New York, Dan Salem and Todd Salem, debate the Carolina Panthers in today’s NFL Sports Debate.

Todd Salem:

Carolina currently works off a star backfield with Cam Newton and Christian McCaffrey. Running back lacks depth though, especially with McCaffrey taking on a much larger workload from year one to year two. He will need help. Without Greg Olsen for much of the season, the passing game was greatly lacking.

Olsen has been courted by TV networks in an attempt to get him to retire. Even if he returns to the Panthers, they are putting an awful lot of pressure on second-year wideout D.J. Moore. Devin Funchess is gone and disappointed last year anyway. Moore is the only every down wide receiver on the roster at this point, and he is just entering his second year.

The team had an above-average offensive line in 2018. That was before the retirement of Ryan Kalil, but Kalil was injured last season and has been replaced by Matt Paradis. The line also performed last year without Daryl Williams, who was re-signed this offseason. In my opinion, the offense should not falter because of the line. If anything, it will be the lack of skill position depth that lets it down.

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On defense, Carolina is adding Bruce Irvin and bringing back Eric Reid to a unit that ranked 22nd in Football Outsiders’ DVOA a season ago. This is where the most strides can be made but also where Carolina’s line straddle leans more toward “bad team” than “good team.”

But the defense was really good in 2017. What changed? Last year, the roster surely needed pass rushing, and Julius Peppers since retired. Irvin should help a little bit. The schedule also did the Panthers no favors, as they faced the eighth-hardest in terms of opposing offenses. But the schedule was even more difficult in 2017 by that same standard! Whether this is a cyclical downturn that should rebound or a straight decline remains to be seen. It is part of what makes Carolina hard to judge.

It is interesting to see this front office take after its old boss Dave Gettleman by trying to build through the trenches. This isn’t a new plan, but Carolina is really banking on its offensive and defensive lines to do the figurative heavy lifting. Most teams don’t take it this far.

According to Spotrac, Carolina is spending the third-most in the league on its defensive line, fourth-most on its defense overall, and is in the top half of the league in offensive line spending. More alarmingly, it ranks outside the top 20 in spending on running backs, wide receivers and the secondary, arguably the three weakest parts of the roster. If you build a team front to back yet leave nothing for the back, how good will the team really be?

Dan Salem:

Something has always been missing for Cam Newton in Carolina. Outside of one season where the Panthers truly dominated, they are consistently above average, but rarely great. Newton has led the Carolina Panthers for eight years, but only three winning seasons.

His Panthers won their division three years in a row, culminating in a trip to the Super Bowl. But since reaching the Super Bowl, Carolina has continued to teeter on the seesaw between good and bad. What team will show up this season?

Newton and Ron Rivera‘s first winning season together in Carolina came in 2013. Since that year the team has literally gone back and forth between double digit wins (starting with 12 in 2013) and losing seasons. If this pattern is something to be relied upon, then the Panthers are in store for double digit wins again in 2019. Its simply what the pattern dictates.

Carolina Panthers’ win totals over the last six seasons: 12, 7, 15, 6, 11, 7

The pattern is real. It has a large enough sample size to be a legitimate thing, so why will the Panthers be a winning team again in 2019? Their second year wide receiver must break out and become a true number one threat. Carolina’s offense also needs one more weapon, regardless of position. It can be a running back, wide receiver, or tight end, but the offense needs another weapon for Newton. His aging legs can not and should not carry this team.

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If offseason spending is any indication, then the Panther’s defense will be very good once again. The draft is loaded with defensive talent as well, so its likely Carolina flips things back around on the defensive side of the ball.

Oddly enough, the NFC South has consistently seen massive turnover from year to year at the top. Atlanta made the Super Bowl, then slowly fell back down the ladder. New Orleans has stayed up top for two years in a row, but how likely is that to last? History is in Carolina’s favor.