In 2012 the Carolina Panthers managed to have a 7-9 record which included winning their last four games of the season against the New Orleans Saints, the Atlanta Falcons, the San Diego Chargers and the Oakland Raiders.
While the Panthers had a great finish to their 2012 campaign, this offseason has been a different story.
This offseason the Panthers have not signed any new superstar players, lost two of their best defenders in Chris Gamble and James Anderson, and currently have only five picks in the upcoming draft. So it will be interesting to see how well Carolina can do this season.
This article is going to make win/loss predictions for each of Carolina's 2013 opponents.
Week 1: Seattle
The Seattle Seahawks are a team that is awfully close in style to Carolina as both teams rely on good defense and a superstar quarterback that uses his legs as much as or more often than his arm and is what fans saw when the two teams tangled in Week 5 of the 2012 season.
In that 2012 matchup only one offensive touchdown was scored, while all other points were scored on four field goals, a defensive touchdown and a safety as Seattle escaped with the 16-12 win.
While this season’s game should be more of the same, it will be interesting to see Carolina’s Steve Smith and the debut of Percy Harvin with Seattle.
Seattle will again get the upper hand and defeat Carolina in another close game.
Carolina starts off 0-1.
Week 2: @Buffalo
While both Buffalo and Carolina finished with similar records in 2012, all-time the Bills have beaten the Panthers four out of five times. However, both teams have made drastic changes since they last met in October of 2009.
Both teams are in a rebuilding season but Carolina has a better foundation right now and should be able to beat Buffalo.
Carolina improves to 1-1.
Week 3: New York Giants
These two teams have met seven times since 2003, with Carolina winning three of those matchups; one of which was a wild-card win in the 2005 playoffs. However, in their last two meetings, including a 2012 match-up, the Giants have outscored the Panthers 67-25.
Expect the Giants to get the better of Carolina again.
Carolina falls to 1-2.
Week 4: Bye Week
The Arizona Cardinals have gone 18-30 over the past three seasons, which prompted an offseason search for a new quarterback and a new head coach. However, 2013 does not appear that it is going to be a better season for the Cardinals which is good news for the Panthers.
Carolina’s defense takes care of Arizona’s weak offense, helping give Carolina the win.
Carolina improves to 2-2.
Week 6: @ Minnesota
Minnesota did make the playoffs last season, however, their quarterback Christian Ponder finished the season leading one of the worst passing offenses in the league, and this offseason traded away the only receiving threat they had on the team. On the other hand, Minnesota does have Adrian Peterson and a consistent defense.
However, Minnesota’s offense doesn’t play well at all, and Carolina does enough to score the win.
Carolina moves up to 3-2.
Week 7: St. Louis
When Carolina first joined the NFL, they were placed in the NFC West which was the same division as the St. Louis Rams. These two teams have met 19 times since the 1995 season with the Panthers leading the series 11-8.
The Rams won their last match-up in 2010, however, St. Louis is another team that is on a rebuilding project this season and Carolina gets another win.
Carolina goes to 4-2.
Week 8: @ Tampa Bay
Finally, in Week 8 the Panthers will play their first divisional game of the season against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Tampa Bay has only won nine games out of 22 games played against the Panthers since the two teams became division rivals, however, the Buccaneers won both matchups last season.
While Carolina would hope to start off well in division play, they aren’t able to beat Tampa Bay.
Carolina falls to 4-3.
Week 9: Atlanta
The Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers have met 36 times since the Panthers joined the league in 1995, with Atlanta being the winners in 23 games overall and in eight out of the last 11 match-ups.
Even though Carolina gets extra time off before their match-up with Atlanta due to the fact that their game against Tampa Bay is on a Thursday night, it is not enough to help Carolina beat Atlanta.
Carolina goes to 4-4.
Week 10: @ SF
Week 10 will see the Panthers heading to the West Coast to face another former division rival in the San Francisco 49ers.
Although the Panthers have won the last three match-ups against the 49ers, the two teams have not met since Carolina drafted Cam Newton and since Jim Harbaugh returned the 49ers to the top of the NFL.
San Francisco has a decent offense and a good defense and is able to end the Panthers' three-game win streak.
Carolina falls to 4-5.
Week 11: New England
Week 11 will be Carolina’s only Monday Night Football game of the season and they will be matching up with the New England Patriots. These two teams have met five times since Carolina joined the league with one of those match-ups being a New England win in Super Bowl XXXVIII.
Just like their Super Bowl match-up the Carolina Panthers come up just short of upsetting the mighty Patriots.
Carolina falls to 4-6.
Week 12: @Miami
The Carolina Panthers and the Miami Dolphins have only faced each other four times since Carolina joined the league in 1995, with Miami winning each of those contests. Both teams have good young quarterbacks and good offensive weapons, but Cam Newton and Steve Smith get the upper hand and beat the Dolphins for the first time in franchise history.
Carolina improves to 5-6.
Week 13: Tampa Bay
Carolina will play divisional opponents in four of the last five weeks of the season starting with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In Week 13, Carolina is again not able to get past Tampa Bay.
Carolina goes to 5-7.
Week 14: @New Orleans
Still stinging from the loss to Tampa Bay, Carolina plays hard against the New Orleans Saints, but to no avail.
Carolina goes to 5-8.
Week 15: New York Jets
The New York Jets and Carolina Panthers have only met five times in Carolina’s history, with the Jets winning three of those match-ups. Expect New York to be struggling on both sides of the ball in this game and Carolina is able to get the win.
Carolina improves to 6-8.
Week 16: New Orleans
Similar to last season Carolina gets hot at the end of the season and is able to knock off the Saints.
Carolina goes to 7-8.
Week 17: @Atlanta
Atlanta being in preparation for a playoff run doesn’t bring their best game and fall to the Panthers in a close one.
Carolina goes to 8-8.
While the Carolina Panthers improve on their record of 7-9 from 2012, they do so by only one game finishing 8-8 overall, and 2-4 in the division. Additionally, this record probably will not be good enough for the Panthers to make the postseason much less win a division title, and for the fifth season in a row, the Panthers will be going home after Week 17.