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NFL Reacts: Majority of Panthers fans predict improved win total in 2022

Two-thirds of the responses to our survey indicate that fans believe Matt Rhule will see improvement in Year 3 with the Panthers.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Carolina Panthers Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Welcome to SB Nation Reacts, a survey of fans across the NFL. Each week we ask questions of the most plugged-in Carolina Panthers fans and fans across the country.

Last week, we published a survey to see how many games y’all think the Panthers will win this season. With Matt Rhule heading into his third year in Carolina, and after back-to-back five-win seasons under his belt, I wasn’t expecting a lot of fans to have a positive outlook on the 2022 season.

But, y’all surprised me a bit with your predictions. Two-thirds of you believe the Panthers will improve their win total this season and win somewhere between six and nine games. The other third of predictions was mostly split between the 0-5 and 10-13 options, but 2 percent of you do believe the Panthers will make a huge leap and win over 14 games* in 2022.

You can see the full results in the image below:

My take

I think the Panthers will show some improvement in 2022, though I don’t think it will show up in the win column as much as I’d like it to. The one thing we have to remember is that Matt Rhule has rebuilt the team from the ground up over the last two years, and there’s one position on the team they still haven’t figured out yet: the quarterback. The unfortunate thing is that the quarterback is the most important part of the roster, and with a huge question mark there heading into training camp, I’m not quite on board with the Panthers winning double-digit games this season.

Now, there’s a chance that new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo is able to get the best we’ve ever seen out of Sam Darnold and the Panthers go on a deep playoff run this year, but I just don’t see that happening. I do think we’ll see some improvement, but I don’t know if the Panthers are quite ready to be in the conversation for the playoffs just yet. I’m thinking the team will pick up somewhere between 7-9 wins, which would definitely be an improvement over the 5-11 and 5-12 seasons we’ve watched since Rhule took over.

For me, as long as the team looks better in 2022, I’d be fine with Rhule getting a fourth year to see if he can get the Panthers over the hump. But, if the team falters again and fails to win at least seven games, I think it’s time to find another coach to take the team in a different direction.

Stay tuned over the coming days for another poll to see how many games you think Matt Rhule has to win in 2022 to keep his job.

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*- I wish I could be that optimistic.