Panthers Looking to Pounce Back
Posted by: Anthony Yaylor
The Carolina Panthers are one of NFL betting favorites to win Super Bowl LI. With reigning MVP Cam Newton leading the charge it’s easy to understand why. But bouncing back from a great season that ended in failure is no easy task. It took the Patriots 4 years to return to the Super Bowl after failing to finish their perfect season. When they did return it was only to be stuffed by the same team. The Panthers certainly have plenty to be hopeful about this season, but they still had areas to improve. All things considered, sportsbook users should still breakdown the Panthers before making them your NFL betting favorites.
Any conversation about the Panthers begins with Cam Newton. Newton had a breakout season last year and was rightfully named MVP for his ability to decimate defenses with a combination of his arm and athletic ability. The 27-year-old was able to rush for 10 touchdowns last season, if defenses tried to defend his running game he’d simply toss it behind them racking up 35 passing touchdowns during the regular season. Last season Newton broke a quarterback rating of 90 for the first time in his career. With defenses more cognizant of Newton’s abilities, will he be able to maintain this success?
Heading into next years’ season the Panthers offense isn’t necessarily in question. In 2015 they ranked 1st in points and 2nd in rushing yards, the two most important stats for an offense. One area the Panthers did struggle was passing yards, ranking 24th overall. Greg Olsen led the Panthers in catches and receiving yards last year, and he’s a tight end. Not something you’d prefer. Newton has taken some responsibility by addressing his desire to get raise his completion percentage. He currently completes 59% and is looking to get that figure around 65%. Kelvin Benjamin will be returning after missing the complete 2015 season due to a knee injury, he’ll be looking to impact the passing offense immediately.
On the other side of the ball the Panthers also excelled. They were 4th in rushing yards, 6th in points and yards overall, and 11th in passing yards. Once again passing proved to be Carolina’s weakness and they’ve addressed it in the draft by selecting 3 cornerbacks. With their first pick they chose Vernon Butler. A defensive tackle might not have been their biggest need, but Butler was the best talent available and Carolina couldn’t pass up. He’ll be a playmaker from day one and be able to solidify their already stellar rushing defense.
Last season the Panthers were unstoppable, coming just one game shy of a perfect regular season. Most of that same roster will be returning next season. They did lose 3 veteran cornerbacks, but were able to rebuild using younger talent. They’ll be expecting veteran safety Kurt Coleman to help provide leadership for their new additions. Carolina’s passing game seems to be the biggest concern, and they’ve failed to address it this offseason. However, Newton’s ability to run the ball will force defenses to approach the line of scrimmage and help open up lanes down the field.
With all this in mind there’s plenty of reason for the Panthers to be NFL betting Super Bowl LI favorites. Right now Carolina’s odds are pegged at +930 to win the Vince Lombardi Trophy, +515 to win the NFC title, and -215 to win their division.