Why the Carolina Panthers can win the NFC South: A fan’s take
By Rodney Southern, Yahoo! Contributor Network 3 hours, 31 minutes ago
The Carolina Panthers are heading into what many NFL experts are calling a rebuilding year. As a fan of the Panthers from the beginning of the franchise, I can tell you things are not all that bad. 2010 was brutal in every way, but we are not nearly as bad as that two win season indicates. In fact, the Carolina Panthers could potentially win the powerful NFC South in the end. Certainly there will need to be some help from the other teams, but it is not completely out of the realm of possibility.
The first thing that is vital to the Panthers' success is the running game returning to the levels of previous years. DeAngelo Williams(notes), Jonathan Stewart(notes) and Mike Goodson(notes) are capable of putting up huge numbers individually. As a group they are even more ofa threat to the rest of the NFC. If the Panthers running game is solid, then the next step in the Panthers' success formula will fall into place much easier.
Cam Newton(notes) will need to aclimate himself to the passing game for the Panthers to really compete in the South. The Panthers have been a non-passing team for a very long time and they are now facing some serious repurcussions. The wide receivers are frustrated, the running game stunted and the quarterbacks unable to manage to get the ball down the field. Cam Newton can change all of that with some help from the running game. They both can help each other out if both are clicking.
The Atlanta Falcons, Tampa Bay Bucs and New Orleans Saints are all capable contenders in the South. Unlike the NFC West, the South is winnable because the teams are all able to win against one another. With the West, the teams are so bad that nobody can take the lead. In the South, the Panthers can win because they all are going to beat up on one another.
While the Panthers are facing some serious challenges, they have enough talent at key positions to make a run if things get started well. Momentum can do funny things in a division like the South. Last to first happens almost annually, and 2011 could be the latest example. The Carolina Panthers are a strong team with new leadership. When that happens, you can quickly change the course of your franchise. As a Carolina Panthers fan, I am hoping for it.