I predicted a 10-win season for the Carolina Panthers when the 2012 NFL schedule came out on April 17, and I will stand by that prediction when Carolina kicks off its season at Raymond James Stadium against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sept. 9.
It All Starts With the Draft
The Carolina Panthers are an organization that likes to build its team in the draft, and the Panthers addressed both wants and needs in last month's 2012 NFL draft.
The Panthers may have drafted the NFL's next Brian Urlacher with first-round pick Luke Kuechly, and they selected a potentially game-changing offensive lineman in Amini Silatolu in the second round.
The Panthers addressed specific needs on the defensive line, in the secondary and on special teams with the selections of Frank Alexander (DE, Oklahoma), Josh Norman (CB, Coastal Carolina) and Joe Adams (WR/PR, Arkansas) on the final day of the 2012 NFL draft.
And It Shows Up on the Field
Beyond the draft, the Carolina Panthers will be more experienced, more talented and, hopefully, healthier on both sides of the ball in 2012.
And as the Detroit Lions showed NFL fans by winning their last four games en route to a 6-10 record in 2010 and improving to 10-6 in 2011, young teams in the building process that finish a losing season on a winning streak are teams to look out for in the following season.
The Carolina Panthers were a young team in the building process in 2011, and they learned how to win late in the season with victories in four of their last six games.
They will take that experience to the field as a much improved, playoff-caliber team in 2012.
Here are five additional reasons the Carolina Panthers will improve their record this season.