Carolina Panthers: What will their 2020 record be?

Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey after scoring a touchdown.
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Ricky Dimon


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Since graduating from Davidson (The College That Stephen Curry Built), I have been writing about sports -- just about any and all you can think of! -- and coaching tennis in Atlanta, GA. Beyond the four major sports, I am an avid tennis fan and cover the ATP Tour on a daily basis. If I'm not busy writing, you can generally find me on a tennis court or traveling the world wherever a sporting event takes me. For Ricky Dimon media enquiries, please email
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It’s a new era in the NFC South even though Drew Brees and Matt Ryan are still going strong for the New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons, respectively. Of course, the fact that it’s a new era has a lot more to do with Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers than it does with the Carolina Panthers. Nonetheless, it is true that the Panthers are in the midst of a complete overhaul. Ron Rivera and Cam Newton are out; Matt Rhule and Teddy Bridgewater are in.

The good news in Carolina is that things can’t get much worse than last year’s 5-11 campaign…. Or can they? The Panthers are going to be bad in 2020. Just how bad is the question—and to find out the answer let’s break it down game-by-game.

Week 1: vs. Las Vegas Raiders

A home date with the Raiders represents one of the Panthers’ best chances to win a football game. And it comes right away in Week 1, assuming the 2020 NFL season starts on time amidst the coronavirus crisis. Win

Week 2: @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Following a rare win in the opener, losses are going to come for Carolina—and come in a big way. Whereas a home game with Las Vegas is about as easy as it gets, a road trip to Tampa Bay is at the complete opposite end of the difficulty spectrum. Loss

Week 3: @ Los Angeles Chargers

I can’t see these Panthers winning more than a couple of road games in 2020. Actually, I can’t see them winning more than one road game in 2020. And this one won’t be it—even though it should be somewhat competitive. Loss

Week 4: Arizona Cardinals

A few people are pressing on the Cardinals’ hype-train accelerator a little too fervently these days. They aren’t going to be that good…but they are going to be a lot better than Carolina. Loss

Week 5: @ Atlanta Falcons

The Mercedes-Benz Dome is not exactly the most difficult place for opposing teams to play, but it’s also not a walk in the park—especially not for Carolina. Loss

Week 6: vs. Chicago Bears

Chicago’s defense should be able to figure out how to get the better of a low-scoring contest against Bridgewater and company. Look for the Panthers to throw away late opportunities in an ugly affair. Loss

Week 7: vs. New Orleans Saints

New Orleans is coming off a bye week and playing at home. All signs point to this being one-way traffic for Brees and the defending NFC South champions. Loss

Week 8: vs. Atlanta Falcons

If the Panthers want to avoid going 0-6 in an unceremonious sweep at the hands of division rivals, they better win this showdown. But…they probably won’t. Loss

Week 9: @ Kansas City Chiefs

The new-look Carolina Panthers against the defending Super Bowl champions? What could possibly go wrong?!?! This should be one of the biggest mismatches of the entire NFL season. Loss

Week 10: vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

If fans are allowed in stadiums this year, they will come out in droves for this one. Of course, there’s just one small detail worth noting: they will come to see the other team. Loss

Week 11: vs. Detroit Lions

Carolina won’t be the absolute worst team in the NFL. And only the absolute worst team in the NFL does something like lose 10 games in a row. The skid ends at nine at the expense of a moribund Detroit franchise. Win

Week 12: @ Minnesota Vikings

Barring more than a couple of interceptions thrown by Kirk Cousins, Minnesota just isn’t losing to the Panthers at home. On the other side of the ball, the Vikings may be able to contain Christian McCaffrey. Loss

Week 13: BYE

Week 14: vs. Denver Broncos

Their bye will be one of the Panthers’ most successful weeks. But it won’t be as successful as a home showdown against the Broncos. Look for them to score a second victory in the span of three games. Break ‘em up! Win

Week 15: @ Green Bay Packers

The Frozen Tundra could be just that at this point in the season. A team from the southeast will have no interest spending time in the cold north—especially when it won’t be playing for a playoff spot. Loss

Week 16: @ Washington Redskins

This is going to be the road game Carolina wins. Rivera, who is now in Washington, obviously knows a thing or two about his former franchise—but these are not the same Panthers. Rhule will have a few tricks up his sleeve for this one. Win

Week 17: vs. New Orleans Saints

Carolina will have long since been eliminated from playoff contention at this point, instead jostling for draft-pick position. New Orleans could be battling for a division title. It will be over by halftime. Loss

For Rhule’s first season at the helm, 4-12 would not terrible. At the same time, it also wouldn’t be great. You have to admit: 4-12 sounds just about right for this squad. McCaffrey is too good for Carolina to be completely hopeless, but a one-man show won’t be enough to put the Panthers in any sort of contention right away in the post-Rivera, post-Newton, post-Luke Kuechly era.

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