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Will the Carolina Panthers go over or under their win total in 2021?

If Christian McCaffrey is healthy this season, the Panthers should be one of the more explosive offenses in Year 2 under Matt Rhule’s lead.

Christian McCaffrey #22 of the Carolina Panthers looks on during a drill during a training camp session at Bank of America Stadium on August 24, 2020 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Matt Rhule’s first season with the Carolina Panthers wasn’t bad. It was more so average with the team not really having star RB Christian McCaffrey, who missed a lot of time due to injury. However, the Panthers still competed and finished with a 5-11 record. There were a lot of close losses mixed in over the course of the season that could’ve been prevented.

The Panthers will enter this season with a new QB in Sam Darnold after they traded Teddy Bridgewater to Denver. Carolina is hoping that Darnold can rebound from an up-and-down tenure with the New York Jets.

We’ll take a look at the latest DraftKings Sportsbook lines and predict if the Panthers can beat their 2021 win total. The odds below are as of May 24, 2021.

NFC South win totals

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 11.5 (Over -125, Under +103)
New Orleans Saints 9 (Over +103, Under -125)
Carolina Panthers 7.5 (Over +110, Under -134)
Atlanta Falcons 7.5 (Over -137, Under +113)

Notable offseason moves

The Panthers brought in QB Sam Darnold, OL Cam Erving, OL Pat Elflein, OLB Haason Reddick, CB A.J. Bouye, DT DaQuan Jones, and drafted CB Jaycee Horn in the first round.

They traded QB Teddy Bridgewater, released DT Kawann Short, S Tre Boston, and lost WR Curtis Samuel, RB Mike Davis, and CB Rasul Douglas in free agency.

Carolina Panthers prediction: Over 7.5

Assuming that the Panthers get improved quarterback play from Sam Darnold and their young defense takes another step forward in their development, then they should be able to over 7.5 wins. Outside of the defending Super Bowl champion, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, second place is wide open in the NFC East.

We’ve seen over the last few years that the team, which finished in last place in the previous year, ends up in first place the next year. Could Carolina be that team? Probably not, with the Buccaneers bringing back everybody from last year’s Super Bowl run. Darnold has the weapons at the skill positions and the offensive line to where he should be better. There’s a lot riding on his shoulders to where he needs to make plays. Also, we should see CMC be a focal point of the offense and easily eclipse 1,500 scrimmage yards.

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