2018 is nothing to smile about for the Carolina Panthers

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Carolina Panthers

7-9

2nd NFC South

Grade : D -

The Panthers were a midseason letdown in 2018. After working towards a solid 6-2 record, the Panthers choked, losing the next 7 games until winning the season finale at New Orleans. The Carolina Panthers ended the season at a disappointing 7-9, missing out on the playoffs again. It was not all bad for the Panthers, who lost 6 of 9 games by one possession, the most losses by single digits out of any team in the NFL.

Christian McCaffrey was a bright spot in a dim season. The 2nd year running back out of Stanford was the leading rusher and receiver for the Panthers, rushing for 1,098 yards and 7 TDs, while also catching 107 passes for 867 yards and 6 TDs.

2019-20 Season Outlook

The Panthers will head into 2019-20 with relatively high expectations. Carolina will bring back a strong linebacking core that should remain intact over the free agency period. Luke Kuechly, Shaq Thompson, and Thomas Davis all registered 75+ tackles in the 2018-19 season, and led the league in tackles as a 3-man linebacking corp.

The Panthers will be without veterans Julius Peppers and Eric Reid next season. Peppers announced his retirement weeks after the season ended, bringing a close to his 17 year career. Eric Reid is set to test free agency, leaving a gap in the safety position in the Carolina defense. Earl Thomas and Tyrann Mathieu are being looked into as potential replacements for Eric Reid.   Look for Carolina to replace both of these players in free agency, as well as moving for a wide receiver. Although Christian McCaffrey’s monster receiving numbers were big for the Panthers, it also revealed the lack of talent in the wide receiver position.Expect the Panthers to be in the market for receivers, with players like Golden Tate, Jon Brown, and Randall Cobb available in the free agent market.

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