Byron Dixon| BKD TV
The Carolina Panthers were the first team to win the NFC South division for consecutive years since its inception in 2002. This team had been continually competitive under coach Ron Rivera and his young star of a quarterback Cam Newton and their aggressive stout defense. The Panthers have been to one Super Bowl in their franchises history, lately it seems as if they are closer than ever before of being able to make another Super Bowl run with a solid core.
While We Were Away: Cam Newton signed a five year 103 million dollar extension with a payout of 67 million in the first three years. He is now one of the highest paid players in the league and has joined the list of quarterbacks who have signed massive contracts over the past few years. The question is now can Cam Newton who is known for his Superman dives and touchdown celebrations take this team with viable pieces in place to the next level and win a championship?
2015 Season Outlook: The NFC South is always on of the more entertaining division as all four teams are always in contention even with less than .500 records. The Panthers have two things a team that wants to make a deep playoff run need, a strong defense and run game that features Newton who is a sight to behold and is featured in their run offense as well. Cam Newton has a stud young receiver entering his second season in Kelvin Benjamin who was a part of that great young receiver class of a year ago and will only get better and tight end Greg Olsen who is a safety blanket every QB needs.The defense has one of the best young linebackers in Luke Kuechly who is a cornerstone of the franchise along with Star Lotulelei at defensive tackle who can help push the pocket on opposing QB’s.
2015 Record: 9-7
The Panthers have a tough schedule based on last seasons records and will have some familiar NFC foes on their itinerary as well. Let us not forget they play in the NFC South and that can add to the uncertainty of wins and losses as well. All in all this is the best team in the division and their defensive intensity and talent of having a play making QB in Cam won’t hurt as well especially with Kelvin Benjamin and tight end Greg Olsen who made the pro bowl last year.