The Carolina Panthers' slow start to the 2014 season was followed by a furious flurry of five wins that propelled the team to an NFC South title and a Wild Card win over the Arizona Cardinals. With that showcase of resiliency now in the team's rearview, the focus is now on bigger and better things, which has led to an impressive 3-0 start. Here are four reasons why the Panthers are absolutely guaranteed to make the postseason for a third straight year:
4) Awful NFC South
The New Orleans Saints haven't won a game this season. The Tampa Bay Bucs will have a rookie under center and they're...the Bucs. While Atlanta is also undefeated, they've played a ridiculously easy schedule and have had to pull off fourth-quarter comebacks in all three of their games. The door is wide open for the Panthers to dominate.
3) Better Offensive Line Play
Byron Bell and Nate Chandler were the two worst offensive tackles in the league last season, according to ProFootballFocus, but new addition Michael Oher and either Mike Remmers or Daryl Williams will be starting ahead of them. The new combo has been much better than expected, making them a BIG improvement from last season.
2) Incredible Defense
Let's take you back to January 3rd, Panthers/Cardinals in the NFC Wild Card Game. Carolina held Arizona to an eye-popping NFL playoff-record 78 yards of total offense en route to its rousing 27-16 victory. They're a top five defense again through the first three games, and they aren't showing any signs of slowing down. This unit will be one of the NFL's best again in 2015.
1) Cam Newton's Ceiling
Critics point to Cam Newton's unrealized potential, but most of them are working off of tidbits of secondhand information. Newton put up comparable numbers to his 2013 season from a projected 16-game perspective, even with a car accident and lingering health concerns weighing on him. He's continued to put up good numbers despite a lack of notable offensive weapons, throwing for 685 yards and five touchdowns while rushing for 144 yards and two more touchdowns. Expect continued success from him this season.Back to the Carolina Panthers Newsfeed