Carolina Panthers 2013 Season Preview

This is a preview of the upcoming season for the Carolina Panthers. The schedule and tickets for the Carolina Panthers are included.

Last season: 7-9 (2nd in NFC South)

Vegas Over/Under: 7 Wins

Key Additions: DT Star Lotulelei (UTAH), DT Kawann Short (PURDUE), Drayton Florence (FA)

Key Losses: CB Chris Gamble

Strength of Schedule: 1

The Carolina Panthers had a bit of slow start to the 2012 season and Cam Newton went through a bit of sophomore slump before turning it around towards the end of the season. The Panthers finished strong with four straight wins to bring their record to 7-9, but lost seven games by six points or less throughout the year. Head coach Ron Rivera’s game management came into question (especially in the Atlanta game) but he will be returning to the sideline this season. The same can’t be said for offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski, who was hired to be the head coach of the Cleveland Browns this season. He will be replaced by quarterbacks coach Mike Shula and his more traditional offense with much simpler verbiage, which is more akin to what Cam ran at Auburn.

The Panthers have arguably the most talented backfield on paper with running backs DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart, Michael Tolbert, and newly drafted Kenjon Barner out of Oregeon. Williams closed out last season with a club record 210 yard effort against the Saints, and Carolina is hoping he can carry that performance over into this season as Shula looks to heavily feature the running game with Stewart as well. In doing so, it will allow Cam Newton and Steve Smith to operate in more single coverage situations. Carolina simply does not have the depth at receiver to throw the ball more than 30 times a game, as the additions of free agents Dominic Hixon and Ted Ginn Jr won’t be enough. Greg Olsen is coming off a record setting season though, and has turned into one of Cam’s favorite targets. If Carolina can control the tempo and the line of scrimmage with pro bowlers Jordan Gross and Ryan Kalil, they will be able to do some damage in the NFC South.

The defensive side of the ball needed to be addressed this offseason, especially the interior line and secondary. New GM Dave Gettleman addressed the need along the defensive front, drafting tackles Star Lotulelei and Kawann Short. They will be joining stud defensive ends Charles Johnson and Greg Hardy. Hardy has even given this group a name, “MonStrz Inc.“. They are going to have to generate a serious pass rush to hide the glaring weaknesses in this secondary however. Cornerback Chris Gamble has retired, and free safety Charles Godfrey is the only player in secondary who has a starting spot locked up. Returning corners Captain Munnerlyn, Josh Thomas, Josh Norman, and James Dockery will be joined by free agents Drayton Florence and D.J. Moore. The starting positions are wide open, and Carolina is going to need somebody from this group to step up and emerge as a playmaker this season. Linebacker and defensive rookie of the year Luke Kuechly will anchor the defense in the middle, with the injury riddle Jon Beason moving to the outside.

The Carolina Panthers have the most difficult schedule in the NFL and opening day will be one of the toughest tests of the season against Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks at Bank of America Stadium. You can find tickets for the opener here, or check out the rest of the Panthers games through our schedule of tickets here:

Aug 98:00 PM Preseason: Carolina Panthers vs. Chicago BearsBank of America Stadium – Charlotte, NC From $18
Aug 157:30 PM Preseason: Philadelphia Eagles vs. Carolina PanthersLincoln Financial Field – Philadelphia, PA From $13
Aug 228:00 PM Preseason: Baltimore Ravens vs. Carolina PanthersM&T Bank Stadium – Baltimore, MD From $17
Aug 297:30 PM Preseason: Carolina Panthers vs. Pittsburgh SteelersBank of America Stadium – Charlotte, NC From $22
Sep 81:00 PM Carolina Panthers vs. Seattle SeahawksBank of America Stadium – Charlotte, NC From $50
Sep 151:00 PM Buffalo Bills vs. Carolina PanthersRalph Wilson Stadium – Orchard Park, NY From $42
Sep 221:00 PM Carolina Panthers vs. New York GiantsBank of America Stadium – Charlotte, NC From $59
Oct 61:05 PM Arizona Cardinals vs. Carolina PanthersUniversity of Phoenix – Glendale, AZ From $7
Oct 1312:00 PM Minnesota Vikings vs. Carolina PanthersMall of America Field at Hubert H Humphrey Metrodome – Minneapolis, MN From $24
Oct 201:00 PM Carolina Panthers vs. St. Louis RamsBank of America Stadium – Charlotte, NC From $37
Oct 248:25 PM Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Carolina PanthersRaymond James Stadium – Tampa, FL From $28
Nov 31:00 PM Carolina Panthers vs. Atlanta FalconsBank of America Stadium – Charlotte, NC From $50
Nov 101:05 PM San Francisco 49ers vs. Carolina PanthersCandlestick Park – San Francisco, CA From $55
Nov 188:40 PM Carolina Panthers vs. New England PatriotsBank of America Stadium – Charlotte, NC From $72
Nov 241:00 PM Miami Dolphins vs. Carolina PanthersSun Life Stadium – Miami Gardens, FL From $28
Dec 11:00 PM Carolina Panthers vs. Tampa Bay BuccaneersBank of America Stadium – Charlotte, NC From $28
Dec 812:00 PM New Orleans Saints vs. Carolina PanthersMercedes-Benz Superdome – New Orleans, LA From $66
Dec 154:05 PM Carolina Panthers vs. New York JetsBank of America Stadium – Charlotte, NC From $44
Dec 221:00 PM Carolina Panthers vs. New Orleans SaintsBank of America Stadium – Charlotte, NC From $50
Dec 291:00 PM Atlanta Falcons vs. Carolina PanthersGeorgia Dome – Atlanta, GA From $37

Bottom Line

The Carolina Panthers are stuck in one of the most competitive divisions in all of football and the NFC South isn’t getting any easier with Saints head coach Sean Payton coming back this year after Bountygate. Seven wins is ambitious for a team without a secondary in a passing league even if Cam Newton turns into Superman, so I’m taking the under here.

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