I say this because the Panthers are playing a number of teams that had down years but could easily rebound in 2014. First there is the bottom half of the NFC South the Falcons and Bucs. Both went 4-12 but both could easily be playoff contenders in 2014.
Here's the rankings for the NFC South:
#11 Falcons .512
#19 Bucs .484
#22 Panthers .473
#23 Saints .469
Now consider these additional teams on the Panthers schedule that missed the playoffs with record at or around .500:
@ Packers (8-7-1)
@ Ravens (8-8)
That's five teams that I think could all play better than a .500 team. Finally look at the winning teams that remain beyond the two games with the Saints:
@ Eagles (10-6)
So you can see having four games against 4-12 teams can knock you down the SoS rankings without really cutting you much of break in difficulty. Yet I have a new found confidence in these Panthers given they had one of the tougher schedules in 2013 yet finished 12-4. I don't think you can say the Panthers 2013 schedule ended up being tougher than advertised either. It was a tough road but the Panthers suddenly learned how to win the close games leaving me hopeful they can repeat it again in 2014.