According to BetOnline.ag, the Carolina Panthers are expected to finish third in the NFC South this season — behind the New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons.
Odds to Win the 2019 NFC South
New Orleans Saints — 4/7
Atlanta Falcons — 7/2
Carolina Panthers — 5/1
Tampa Bay Buccaneers — 12/1
The odds makers have given the Panthers 5-to-1 odds of winning the 2019 NFC South division title. Those are the third best odds of the four divisional teams, which is how I take that to mean a third place finish for the Panthers. Without getting side tracked on whether those two things actually mean the same thing, I would normally give you a homer inspired ‘They are wrong’ response. After last season’s second half nosedive, my inner Homer is not feeling so vocal.
Has anyone figured out what exactly the eff happened last season? Well I know what happened, what I do not know is why it happened. Has there ever been more of a penultimate game in Panthers regular season history then the Week 10 52-21 waxing by the Steelers? The Panthers season went straight downhill from there with only a final game win against the Saints’ second team saving a 0-8 skid.
There were things that were just not normal about that game and the lasting effect it had on the team. On the Panthers’ opening drive, they drove the field methodically and scored a touchdown to take the lead. What a great start to a game I knew would be a difficult road game. As you well remember, the Steelers scored on their very first play on a long touchdown pass and it was game over. The quick touchdown appeared to deflate not only the defense but the offense as well. That is not normal for the Panthers.
What is also not normal is second half of season collapses by the Panthers since Rivera took the reins. Rivera prides himself on being able to get a team to forget about last week and focus on the game at hand. His team usually comes ready to play especially in December when it matters. If not for the aforementioned gift from the Saints in the season finale, the Panthers would have went 0-5 in December. In the span of eight weeks everything we thought we knew about Ron Rivera coached teams went out the window.
So now, I wonder if Ron Rivera is in the hot seat going into the 2019 season.
The team’s fourth and current head coach, Ron Rivera, has served seven seasons as head coach and has a record of 64–47–1 (.576) during his tenure, with a 3–4 record in the playoffs. Rivera has the highest winning percentage of any coach in team history.
I do not think any of the history matters to new owner David Tepper who is now focusing all of his energy on turning around the franchise. I think that equates to a short lease for Rivera and probably general manager Marty Hurney as well. When I say ‘short’ I mean at least the 2019 season. I do not see Tepper as the kind of owner to make a midseason coaching change… outside of a horrible start. Opening the season against the NFC champion Rams gives the Panthers and Rivera a chance to put last season behind them.
If you are feeling a rebound season for the Panthers then you could multiply your money nicely, just place a wager. Bet $20 and win a cool $100, it is that simple. On the other hand being a Panthers homer after the 2018 season is not so easy.