As you can see by our "Inside the Panthers" blog on the offseason power ratings by Sports Illustrated's Peter King, the Panthers are once again being looked upon favorably by what remains the best sports magazine in the business.
I have long admired SI and have been a subscriber for 20-plus years. But there's one area the magazine often falls short -- predictions. Remember that time SI had Carolina winning the Super Bowl? And no, that wasn't in 2003.
We've got another good example here, as SI has Carolina way too high -- eighth! -- in its offseason power rankings.
Where would I put Carolina? At No.19.
I think Carolina is in store for a 7-9 sort of season -- not awful, but far from great and out of the playoffs. You can't tell me that a team that went 8-8 last season (and had to win its last 3 games to get to that point) has gotten better this offseason. The purge of veterans was too dramatic and too far-reaching -- some deserved to go, yes, but not so many.
Until proven otherwise, this is a middle-of-a-pack team with a quarterback who has only eight starts (good starts, yes, but can Matt Moore lead a team an entire season?), a coach entering the final year of his contract and a front office that is obviously committed to youth over experience and thriftiness over expense.