Even with missing a game, fourth-year running back Christian McCaffrey has been one of the best at his position in the league thus far this season. Mike Davis, whom the Panthers acquired off waivers in November 2019, filled in valiantly for McCaffrey in Week 3. Davis accumulated at least 75 yards from scrimmage for the second consecutive contest. In Week 3, he scored his first touchdown of the season and had 91 yards from scrimmage.
Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, formerly of the Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints, entered 2020 with a 22-12 career record as an NFL starter. Including his first three games of 2020, he has a 66 percent completion rate. This season, Bridgewater has completed 74 percent of his passes but does have just two passing touchdowns while he has thrown two interceptions.
Overall, the team has to improve its red zone efficiency. The offense has just five touchdowns on 13 drives, while the defense has allowed seven touchdowns in 10 red zone drives. If the Panthers want a chance at their first postseason berth since 2017, they will have to be better in the red zone.
Read Also: Tampa Bay Buccaneers Predictions and Odds
2020 Panthers Draft Picks
Derrick Brown, DT (Auburn)
Yetur Gross-Matos, DE (Penn State)
Jeremy Chinn, S (Southern Illinois)
Troy Pride, CB (Notre Dame)
Kenny Robinson, S (West Virginia)
Bravvion Roy, DT (Baylor)
Stantley Thomas-Oliver, CB (Florida International)
Notable Other New Faces for the Panthers
Teddy Bridgewater, QB
P.J. Walker, QB
Mike Davis, RB
Trenton Cannon, RB
Robby Anderson, WR
Pharoh Cooper, WR
Keith Kirkwood, WR
Seth Roberts, WR
Zach Kerr, DT
Stephen Weatherly, DE
Shareef Miller, DE
Julian Stanford, LB
Adarius Taylor, LB
Tahir Whitehead, LB
Eli Apple, CB
Rasul Douglas, CB
Juston Burris, S
Notable Panthers in New Places
Cam Newton, QB – New England Patriots
Kyle Allen, QB – Washington Football Team
Jordan Scarlett, RB – released
Chris Hogan, WR – New York Jets
DeAndrew White, WR – Baltimore Ravens
Greg Olsen, TE – Seattle Seahawks
Vernon Butler, DT – Buffalo Bills
Dontari Poe, DT – Dallas Cowboys
Gerald McCoy, DT – released
Mario Addison, DE – Buffalo Bills
Bruce Irvin, DE – Seattle Seahawks
Andre Smith, LB – Buffalo Bills
Jordan Kunaszyk, LB – Washington Football Team
James Bradberry, CB – New York Giants
T.J. Green, S – released
Graham Gano, K – New York Giants
Notable Panthers on the Injury Report
Christian McCaffrey, RB – placed on injured reserve with an ankle injury; expected to return for Week 6
Keith Kirkwood, WR – placed on injured reserve with a shoulder injury; expected to return for Week 4
Russell Okung, OT – questionable for Week 4 with a groin injury
Dennis Daley, OG – questionable for Week 4 with an ankle injury
Kawann Short, DT – questionable for Week 4 with a foot injury
Yetur Gross-Matos, DE – questionable for Week 4 with an illness
Adarius Taylor, OLB – questionable for Week 4 with a hip injury
Jeremy Chinn OLB – questionable for Week 4 with a hip injury
Jason Ferris, LB – questionable for Week 4 for an undisclosed reason
Donte Jackson, CB – questionable for Week 4 with a toe injury
Eli Apple, CB – placed on injured reserve with an ankle injury; expected to return for Week 4
Panthers Who Have Opted Out of 2020 NFL Season
Christian Miller, OLB
Jordan Mack, LB
Panthers Offense Predictions
With veteran quarterback Cam Newton now in New England, the Teddy Bridgewater era has begun in Carolina. First-year head coach Matt Rhule is replacing Ron Rivera, the head coach of the Washington Football Team.
Quarterback Kyle Allen, who played most snaps at the quarterback position in 2019, followed Rivera to the nation’s capital to be a backup. Bridgewater has accumulated 871 yards through the air thus far in 2020 and is on pace to set a new career-high. His previous high came in 2015 when he threw for 3,231 yards.
Panthers Running Backs: Can Mike Davis Successfully Fill in for Christian McCaffrey While the 2019 First Team All-Pro Selection Is Out?
Potential Hall of Fame running back Christian McCaffrey, who already has four touchdowns in 2020, will have to sit out a few more weeks with his ankle injury. Mike Davis, who used to play with the San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, and Chicago Bears, hopes to continue to play well for the Panthers.
He and Bridgewater looked strong in Week 3, as Carolina won its first game of the season. Bridgewater connected with Davis on a 13-yard pass for the team’s only touchdown in the 21-16 victory.
Panthers Wide Receivers: Can Fifth-Year Pass-Catcher Robby Anderson Have a Career Year?
Robby Anderson is the leading receiver for the 2020 Panthers after struggling near the end of his tenure with the New York Jets. The Temple University product went undrafted in 2016 but produced immediately for the Jets that year. His career-best season came in 2017, but he caught just 63 of his 114 targets that year. He had career-highs of 941 receiving yards and seven receiving touchdowns in 2017.
Anderson, who leads the team with 20 receptions for 278 yards and a touchdown, should be in a for a career year in catches and receiving yards this season. D.J. Moore has 14 catches for 239 yards, and Curtis Samuel has 11 receptions for 96 yards. Anderson, Moore, and Samuel should continue to contribute throughout the season.
Panthers Tight Ends: The 2020 Panthers Do Not Seem to Be Focused on Getting Production From the Tight End Position
Ian Thomas and Chris Manhertz are the main two tight end pass-catchers for the Panthers this season, but they have combined for just five receptions for 37 yards through three games.
In 2018, Thomas figured into the passing game as a rookie while Manhertz took a back seat. Thomas saw his numbers dwindled in 2019, but maybe the Panthers can find a way to get back to his 2018 statistics of 36 receptions for 333 yards and two touchdowns.
Read Also: New Orleans Saints Predictions and Odds
Panthers Defense Predictions
Potential Hall of Fame inside linebacker Luke Kuechly retired in 2019 and has joined the Panthers’ front office as a pro scout. The loss of Kuechly has already affected the team’s defense. Carolina’s problems appear in the red zone, and they could have caused them to lose in Week 3, but the Panthers received enough Joey Slye field goals and defensive stops to win.
In Carolina’s first late afternoon game of the season, the Panthers forced four Los Angeles Chargers turnovers, including three fumbles. Although the Chargers converted on 10 of their 15 third-down conversion attempts and had 134 more yards than the Panthers, Matt Rhule’s squad still came out with the victory.
In the win, third-year cornerback Donte Jackson brought in his second interception of the season. He is one of four players to have multiple interceptions through the first three weeks of 2020. Unfortunately, Jackson has not produced a touchdown yet, but he does have a league-best 110 interception return yards as he is on his way to the first Pro Bowl of his young career.
Read Also: Atlanta Falcons Predictions and Odds
Panthers Special Teams Predictions
Kicker Joey Slye is in just his second NFL season, and he is off to a good start as he hopes to improve upon his 2019 statistics. Last year, he made 25 of his 32 field goal attempts (78.1 percent) and 31 of his 35 extra-point tries (88.6 percent). He is well on his way to improving his field goal kicking, but his extra points need practice.
Slye has made his first nine field goals of 2020 but has missed two of his five extra-point attempts. He missed one in Week 1’s four-point loss and another in Week 3. In 2019, he kicked perfectly against the Panthers’ next two opponents, the Arizona Cardinals, and Atlanta Falcons. Just like he did in Week 3 of 2020, he made all five of his field-goal attempts last year against the Cardinals.
Panthers Head Coach Predictions
Former Baylor Bears head football coach Matt Rhule last coached in the NFL with the New York Giants in 2012. He was the assistant offensive line coach for the Giants in a year that New York was the sixth-best scoring team in the NFL. Rhule also spent a long time with the Temple Owls, including four years as the head coach. Some of those years were while Robby Anderson was on the roster.
In 2019, Rhule was the Big 12 Coach of the Year, and by the end of the year, his cumulative NCAA coaching record was 47-43 (.522). He hopes to have a better winning percentage during his NFL career, but it may be difficult in Carolina. Rhule is hoping to stop a two-year streak of below-.500 records.
Panthers Predictions for Week 4
The Panthers, who are 3.5-point underdogs, host the 2-1 Cardinals for Week 4, but Arizona’s star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins could miss the game. Although it is not likely that Hopkins sits out, if he is inactive for the contest, then the Panthers’ chance of winning would surely increase.
A different Cardinals wide receiver stepped up last week though: second-year pass-catcher Andy Isabella caught four passes for 47 yards and two touchdowns in the Cardinals’ 26-23 loss in Week 3. Quarterback Kyler Murray, who leads the NFL with four rushing touchdowns and 7.2 yards per rushing attempt, matched his career-high with three interceptions in the Detroit Lions loss.
Carolina’s key will be forcing interceptions, as Murray is 0-4 in his career when throwing multiple interceptions. However, if Hopkins is active, the Panthers do not carry much value with the line of 3.5 points.
Panthers Predictions for 2020 Season
The Panthers entered 2020 with an over/under of just 5.5 wins, as bookmakers expected them to be one of the worst teams in the league. Heading into Week 4, Carolina’s Super Bowl futures odds stand at +21000, tied to the third-lowest in the league. With it being early in the season, this could be the best time to bet the Panthers.
Hopeful Panthers fans could say that the Saints have a chance to underachieve this season with an aging Drew Brees. If so, then it could be down to just the Buccaneers and Panthers vying for the NFC South divisional title with the Falcons struggling.
The Panthers stand at +3500 to win the NFC South, which carries value as well. It may be a longshot, but the Panthers have shown more promise than other squads with similar odds.
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