Carolina Panthers 2008 NFL Projection:
In last five seasons, Carolina has been up and down.
The Panthers have been to the NFC Championship game twice,
while also having two injury plagued campaigns.
Most notably, Jake Delhomme missed significant time with injuries in 2006 and again in 2007.
When Delhomme has been healthy, the Panthers have been extremely competitive.
In 2008 Delhomme is coming off Tommy John surgery on his right elbow.
Judging by the Panthers' lack of off-season moves in the QB department,
they're obviously feeling confident that Delhomme
will be alright.
Other good news would be the Panthers' offensive line looking improved
year over year thanks to draft pick Jeff Otah who allows the Panthers to do some positional shifting
which should be advantageous.
With the trend toward Jake Delhomme getting injured,
Carolina must do a solid job of pass protection in '08.
Otherwise they'll have to turn to Matt Moore again,
because Vinny Testaverde called it quits, and the much
younger Drew Bledsoe sought by Carolina, Jacksonville, Arizona, Cincinnati, and New Orleans seems perfectly content in
retirement from the NFL
having started up several businesses.
On the downside, Steve Smith is suspended for the first two games of the season.
Although he might benefit from the extra down time having sustained a concussion in the preseason opener
versus the Colts.
Overall the Panthers look to have a more balanced WR core than in recent memory thanks
to the additions of D.J. Hackett and Muhsin Muhammad.
Meanwhile, RB Jonathan Stewart
rounds out what should be one of the better
offenses Carolina has fielded in recent memory.
On defense the Panthers' success will hinge on the play of Julius Peppers, who as
everyone knows had a seriously down season in '07.
Unfortunately, he lost teammate Kris Jenkins-- who was traded to the New York Jets.
Oddly enough it may be the linebacking group that is the strength of the Panthers defense,
based on last season's play of Jon Beason... That's not necessarily a good thing as Carolina
has lived off their D-line for years.
The secondary appears to be the weakest area of the 2008 Panthers team. So it's imperative that
Peppers regains his pass rushing mojo this season.
In 2008 Carolina will play
just five games versus teams that made the playoffs last season.
Unfortunately as you can see, four of these five meetings will take place on the road.
@Minnesota in week 3
@New Orleans in week 17
add to the tough road slate in '08.
On the plus side Carolina will play several home games against lower caliber opponents.
If Delhomme's elbow is truly repaired, then Carolina's offense could come to life, especially with the additions
of Hackett, Muhammad, and Stewart.
But at the same time, the Panthers' defense isn't what it used to be, so reaching double digit wins appears
to carry a low probability of occurrence.
Overall we're now predicting a record of (9-7) for the 2008 Carolina Panthers-- a slight upgrade before the regular
season kicks off.
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Free 2008 NFL Predictions Note:
these now archived 2008 NFL forecasts were made
during the 2008 preseason.
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