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Half Way Thru Season Review

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Carolina Panthers are 5-3. Have big wins over Lions and Patriots, while having a bad loss against Chicago Bears.

2nd place in the NFC South, behind the NO Saints. 1-1 in the Division, facing Falcons this Sunday.

Injuries- Ryan Kalil has missed a lot of time with neck problems, Greg Olson is on IR, but scheduled to come back. Coleman and Luke were out, but have recently returned.

Offense ranks in the bottom half of the league in Offense in all major categories. Running game has been terrible.

Defense ranks in the top 5 of the league in most major categories. 1 of 2 teams that hasn't allowed a 100 yard receiver or 100 yard rusher. Peppers leads team with 7.5 sacks. Team only has 3 interceptions on year.

Special Teams has been much better. Gano has missed 1 XP and 1 FG. Palardy seems to be doing a good job pinning teams inside the 20.

Turnover ratio is -7, which is good for bottom 10 in the NFL. 

Rookies- CMac has been okay, more of a receiver than a runner. Seems like the only highlight of Samuel was fumbling the toss by Newman, and having the Bears run it back for a TD last week. Really haven't seen much from the other guys in the class so far.

So, what's your opinion of the team so far? Is this a playoff team or no? I think the Panthers can be a Playoff team, but the offense needs to get it into gear.

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We are a playoff caliber team, but the NFC is stacked right now.  Not only do we have to deal with the Falcons and Saints in our division, but the Cowboys (unless they catch the Eagles) and one of the Seahawks/Rams are teams we will have to get past for a wildcard spot as well.  Thankfully the Vikings seem to be running away with the North and the Lions/Packers are probably digging themselves too big of a hole.

We haven't had our bye week yet, which means we're basically equal with the Packers, Cowboys, Falcons, and potentially one game behind the Saints, Seahawks, and Rams (all of whom have had a bye week already) if they keep winning.  

I think this week is going to have huge ramifications on the NFC Playoff Picture.  If we lose to the Falcons, it could put us in a huge hole if they win again while we're on our bye.

A huge part of me thinks this team will be better in the second half of the season because we always have been under Rivera and I think that the turnovers are going to come back down to the norm.  Even if the offense keeps turning it over at the same rate, eventually you would think the defense would start getting lucky with turnovers themselves.  We have always been one of the better teams in the NFL in forcing TOs.  Olsen should make a huge difference.

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FWIW, our next three games are vs Falcons, vs Dolphins (MNF), bye week, and @ Jets.  Not to overlook the latter two teams, but I would expect to win both of those contests.  If we can win at home against the Falcons, we have a great chance at being 8-3 going into a road game against the Saints.  After that, 3 of our last 4 games are at home.

If I had to judge my confidence level, I would say 60% of me feels good about where we are and will be and the other 40% is ready to be disappointed.

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If the offense could be consistent, it would be nice. Not even consistently excellent, just consistent. Run game is embarrassingly bad. I don't understand how the run scheme can be this terrible. It isn't the best o line inthe NFL, but there are some good players. I gotta think blocking scheme is a huge part of it because the RBs are definitely talented enough.

At least the defense is playing well. Lack of turnovers is not good, but the defense is doing their part overall.

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If we're going to make a serious playoff push, the defense needs to create more turnovers. Tied for 25th currently with only 7 takeaways (4 fumbles, 3 interceptions). Overall the defense has been fantastic, but we need them to create more points.

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First things first, we need figure how to win at home or those last three out of four won't mean crap. Our front seven has looked great. I like seeing Wilks implementing more of a blitz package every game, it seems like it is paying off. The lack of consistency on offense falls about 75% on Cam. It seems like he needs to stick with the check downs to CMC instead of taking terrible deep ball shots on 3rd and short.

I have faith in this team because I stand behind Rivera's coach ability and how much this team respects him. 

I don't see the Saints being legit contenders down the stretch with that sketchy defense and the Falcons don't look close to what they were last year.

Panthers go 5-3 the next 8 games and finish at 10-6 a top the NFC South (optimism is key here).

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