Why the Carolina Panthers Could Be the New Orleans Saints of 2010

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Why the Carolina Panthers Could Be the New Orleans Saints of 2010
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The Carolina Panthers enter the upcoming season with a very clear idea of who should win their division, if you listen to the pundits.  

Last year, the Atlanta Falcons were the "team to beat" with the occasional spattering of Panther mentions, but the New Orleans Saints were really nowhere to be found.  

Now, they were touted as a "potentially good team" before the season, but nobody saw them winning the Super Bowl and few saw them winning the division.  

The Carolina Panthers find themselves in a very similar position this year, although for different reasons.

Nobody thinks that the Panthers are going to air it out early and often.  This has always been a run first, second, and mostly third team.  They will continue that game plan with DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart for the near future.

And why not?  The Panthers are a loaded team with the running game and an offensive line that could move pretty much anybody off the ball.  Add to that a healthy Jordan Gross and the Panthers are set to pretty much dominate the line of scrimmage most weeks.

What nobody seems to be noticing is that the Panthers have all the pieces to win it all.

The first argument against that statement is likely to be the quarterback position, but those that follow Panther football know exactly what is there with Matt Moore.

He will manage the game and make the plays through the air when needed.  He is a competitor that is fierce on the field and has a far better arm than the majority of NFL experts seem to realize.

Jimmy Clausen is nice insurance and a great player for down the road, but this will be Moore's team under center.  Mark it down.

The next roadblock is likely to be the defense, and it too is better than advertised. There will be some growing pains, but this defense has some game changers.

Jon Beason is as good as anyone at the middle linebacker slot and will likely be a breakout star this season according to the experts. He has been a breakout star here in Carolina for a couple of years now already.

Carolina needs some things to go their way, but they have both the talent and the schedule to do some serious damage.  

They are built to beat both the Falcons and the Saints with their running game.  Matt Ryan and Drew Brees cannot score if they do not have the ball.  

With all the talent swirling around, I expect Carolina to win the NFC South this season.

Yes, I said it: The Panthers will win the NFC South.  

I will be back at the end of the season to brag (or cowering in my corner if I am wrong)...

Trust me when I say the Panthers should not be overlooked.  This is a dangerous team.

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