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|The Panthers need a healthy Jake Delhomme to complement their promising running game.|
The Panthers go from a .523 strength of schedule in 2007 to a .465 in '08. Normally, a .020 change in strength of schedule projects to a win if it's easier or a loss if it's tougher. Using that concept, the Panthers have a chance to improve by 2.9 games. They were 7-9 last season. Jake Delhomme is back from Tommy John surgery. If he can stay healthy for 16 games, the Panthers have a great chance to make a playoff run. Before elbow problems ended his season in September, the Panthers were averaging 25 points a game, and Delhomme's quarterback rating was above 100. Without him, the Panthers finished with a dismal 16.7-point scoring average.
For personnel, the Panthers went back to John Fox's philosophy of getting big and nasty on the line, adding five 322-pound-plus blockers and running back Jonathan Stewart, a first-round pick. On paper, the Panthers have a great chance to win 10 games this season -- as long as Delhomme stays healthy.
When Bulger has a healthy offense, the Rams average 23 points a game, which is slightly less than a touchdown better than their offensive production of last season. Despite the lack of offense and its own problem with injuries, the defense improved last year under defensive coordinator Jim Haslett. The 2008 schedule is slightly easier: The Rams will have a .512 strength of schedule as compared with last season's .488. The one concern for the Rams is a tough first-half schedule that includes games against the Eagles, Giants, Redskins, Cowboys and Patriots.
|After spending most of 2007 on the sidelines, JaMarcus Russell will get his chance to lead the Raiders.|