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In just the second year of a rebuild and with a (very) unproven starting quarterback, the Carolina Panthers are not a safe bet to squeeze into this year’s playoff picture. The experts over at NFL.com agree.
The site gathered and tallied up votes from a panel of 29 analysts, all of which gave their postseason predictions for the 2021 season. As far as their forecast for the NFC South went, forget it, because the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were the unanimous choice to capture the division.
“Hey, here’s something you might not have heard over the offseason: The Buccaneers are returning all 22 starters,” NFL Network analyst Adam Rank wrote. “Amazing, right? But honestly, Tom Brady never rests. And now, with a full year under the quarterback’s belt in Tampa Bay, I hate to say this team might be better.”
So, the Panthers’ only hopes in this now rest in the wild card realm. Oh, wait, never mind. Those hopes turned out to be basically non-existent.
Cumulatively, Carolina did not make the cut there either, finishing tied for ninth with the Chicago Bears of the 11 teams who received wild card votes. The only two votes they garnered, from panelists Chad Reuter and Marc Sessler, were both for the second of the three remaining spots.
Again, this young team currently lacks the depth and overall talent to seriously be considered a contender. But, if they do somehow get in, Reuter and Sessler deserve some props on the bold call.