Using a quick Google search I've linked up some preseason predictions to see if any of the national pundits got their NFC South preseason predictions right. Here's what I found:
CBS predicts no improvement in the Panthers:
2013 NFL team-by-team record predictions - CBSSports.com
3. Carolina 8-8 The Panthers finished strong last season, winning the final four games. They swept the Saints, putting 79 points on the board. They also split with Atlanta and feel they will be in the race this season. Don't underestimate the Panthers; this team can rush the passer, has a QB who can run and throw (Cam Newton had 4,610 total yards & 27 touchdowns). However, they want to improve in the secondary. They didn't draft for the secondary but did beef up the defensive line with Star Lotulelei and Kawann Short. In six division games last season, offenses threw for 1,700 yards and rushed for 676 yards (almost 400 yards of offense) in six division games vs. the Panthers.
Though Judy missed on pretty much everything she did at least give The Kuech some props:
2013 NFL predictions: MVP, Rookie of the Year and much more - NFL.com
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR Judy Battista: Luke Kuechly, LB, Carolina Panthers. Can a middle linebacker, albeit one who was the Defensive Rookie of the Year last season, be the dominant defensive player in the current pass-happy era? Ask Joe Flacco about how disruptive Kuechly can be.
Joe Flacco? Oh yeah, thanks for the preseason memory:
Kuechly and cornerback Captain Munnerlyn combined to pressure Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco into an errant throw – one that was easily picked off by cornerback Drayton Florence and returned 71 yards for a touchdown. On the second play of the next Ravens series, Kuechly diagnosed a handoff to running back Bernard Pierce and shot into the backfield. The linebacker smashed into Pierce in an instant, forcing a fumble that fellow linebacker Tomas Davis pounced on for a 2-yard score.
Gil Brant comes the closet, saying any team could win it before making a very wrong final choice:
2013 NFL predictions: Falcons, Packers, 49ers will reign in NFC - NFL.com
Gil Brandt: Falcons. Any of the four teams in this division could win it. Adding Steven Jackson will help the running game, while Matt Ryan keeps getting better. This is the best team I watched in training camp. Albert Breer: Falcons. The Falcons need to get their lines in order. If they can, this parity-laden division, which has been so competitive the past half-decade, shouldn't feature much of a race.
It actually ended up being a very good race.
This one made me laugh so I had to share:
2013 NFL predictions: NFC West reps, Broncos own title games - NFL.com
Judy Battista: Broncos over Texans. It's simple: The more explosive offense -- and the better quarterback -- prevails over the more balanced team.
Judy! Judy! Judy...[I think I heard that in a movie]
Another middle of the road prediction from the flagship:
2013 NFL season predictions - NFL Nation Blog - ESPN - Panthers: 9-7
Center Ryan Kalil didn't take out a full-page ad in the local newspaper predicting a Super Bowl victory as he did last season, and I'm not going there, either. Despite four wins to close out 2012, too many uncertainties remain to call this a playoff team.
The biggest question: Can quarterback Cam Newton cut down on mistakes and inconsistent passing to become a winner, as new general manager Dave Gettleman insists must happen? Newton has thrown for more yards than any quarterback in his first two NFL seasons, but his record is a mediocre 13-19. He has to find a way to win with his arm and head the way he can with his legs. The key word that keeps surfacing is leadership. New offensive coordinator Mike Shula likes what Newton has shown in practice, but it all comes down to results. A 2-12 record in games decided by seven or fewer points the past two seasons must be reversed. With the uncertainty of running back Jonathan Stewart (ankle), unproven wide receivers outside of Steve Smith, question marks in the secondary and the league's toughest schedule, Kalil was smart to keep quiet.
Predicted finish in NFC South: second
I would say the Panthers did reverse the trend losing the close games, something few predicted would happen so quickly.
More love for Kuechly:
Best Linebacker | Bleacher Report's Preseason NFL Award Predictions | Bleacher Report
The Voters' Selection: Luke Kuechly (Carolina Panthers MLB)—six votes Carolina Panthers then-rookie linebacker Luke Kuechly took the NFL by storm in 2012 with a league-leading 165 combined tackles. He's followed it up with a dominant preseason that shows he's ready to take the next step in 2013. With Kuechly adding frequent takeaways and more maturity in coverage to his on-point tackling game, he easily could become the best linebacker in the NFL this season. He'll still face a strong challenge from five-time All-Pro Patrick Willis, who got four votes from our panel. Fellow up-and-comers Justin Houston and Bobby Wagner got one vote apiece.
It looks like this common preseason prediction is still very possible:
Possible but not likely...because the Panthers will have something to say about that! Don;t make the same mistake with your Super Bowl predictions.
Oh I almost forgot...what did the CSR staff predict:
|Blogger Panther W/L Predictions||Jaxon||BW Smith||Edgar Salmingo, Jr.||Curry||James||Ben||Canadian Panther||JDeLong42||Evan Leekley||Rick||Crawford||Connor Harrison||Stevie Mercury||Ivan 459|
|@ Bucs (TNF)||L||L||W||L||L||L||W||L||W||L||L||W||L||L|
|Overall Record||11-5||9-7||11--5||8-8||9-7||8-8||9 - 7||10 - 6||9-7||11 - 5||11--5||11-5||10-6||9-7|
|Div Record||4-2||4-2||3-3||3-3||3-3||3-3||3-3||3 -3||4-2||4-2||4--2||4-2||4-2||4-2|
So my 'Homer' prediction as it was called back then was not Homer enough apparently!