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Thursday, April 24, 2014
A look at why Carolina will be 8-8

By David Newton

Predicting an NFL team's record in April is like predicting the first round of a mock draft.

There are going to be adjustments and changes.

So when I predict the Carolina Panthers will be 8-8 today, that doesn't mean that will be the prediction in May after the draft or in August after training camp.

It just means that's what I believe is a realistic expectation with a new wide receiver corps, uncertainty at left tackle and along the offensive line, and an unproven secondary.

That could change if the Panthers get a difference-maker in the first or second round of the draft. Or if free agent wide receivers Jerricho Cotchery and Jason Avant begin playing like Jerry Rice and Terrell Owens. Or if several of their opponents suffer key injuries as Green Bay did last season with the loss of Aaron Rodgers.

Or if the Panthers suffer a key injury.

By August this may look like an 11-5 team. It also may look like a 7-9 team.

But for now, less than 24 hours after the NFL schedule release, I'm going with 8-8.

Here is a game-by-game look at how I got to that: