CAROLINA PANTHERS

Last Season: 7-9, 3-3 division
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Playoffs: Missed the postseason
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Stat Leaders: QB Cam Newton (3,869 YDS, 19 TDs, 12 INTS); Newton (741 YDS, 8 TDS); WR Steve Smith (1,174 YDS, 4 TDS); LB Luke Kuechly (164 TACKLES, 1 SACK)
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The Buzz: Dual-threat quarterback Cam Newton has put up strong offensive numbers, leading Carolina in passing and rushing last season, but he has fallen short in the most critical category for any starting signal caller - wins. Newton is under pressure to lead the Panthers to the playoffs. While he's a powerful run threat, Newton shouldn't necessarily be Carolina's leading rusher in a season. The team needs more out of DeAngelo Williams, who has turned in 1,000-yard seasons in the past but only had 737 yards and five touchdowns last season. Linebacker Luke Kuechly shattered Boston College tackling records and continues to be in an elite defensive player at the pro level, but the Panthers still need more production out of the defense.
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Luck Factor: The Panthers have the bad luck of being in the same division as elite passing teams Atlanta and New Orleans, roadblocks to the playoffs.
orl-nfl-pre-panthers-20130815

( Elsa, Getty Images / August 15, 2013 )

Last Season: 7-9, 3-3 division

Playoffs: Missed the postseason

Stat Leaders: QB Cam Newton (3,869 YDS, 19 TDs, 12 INTS); Newton (741 YDS, 8 TDS); WR Steve Smith (1,174 YDS, 4 TDS); LB Luke Kuechly (164 TACKLES, 1 SACK)

The Buzz: Dual-threat quarterback Cam Newton has put up strong offensive numbers, leading Carolina in passing and rushing last season, but he has fallen short in the most critical category for any starting signal caller - wins. Newton is under pressure to lead the Panthers to the playoffs. While he's a powerful run threat, Newton shouldn't necessarily be Carolina's leading rusher in a season. The team needs more out of DeAngelo Williams, who has turned in 1,000-yard seasons in the past but only had 737 yards and five touchdowns last season. Linebacker Luke Kuechly shattered Boston College tackling records and continues to be in an elite defensive player at the pro level, but the Panthers still need more production out of the defense.

Luck Factor: The Panthers have the bad luck of being in the same division as elite passing teams Atlanta and New Orleans, roadblocks to the playoffs.

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