Panthers Off To Unexpected Start

The Carolina Panthers have won all of their first twelve games.


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Cam Newton doing his signature touchdown celebration dance (Rob Carr/Getty Images).

Last Sunday, the Carolina Panthers became just the ninth team to start a season 12-0 in NFL history by beating the New Orleans Saints 41-38. Led by quarterback Cam Newton and a stout defense, the Panthers are amidst one of the most impressive starts in NFL history.

Coming into the season, many NFL analysts speculated that the Panthers would not have a successful season. This prediction was largely due to the ACL injury to star wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin during training camp. Many predicted that the Panthers would not even win their division even though they had won it the previous two years. CCES junior Thomas Prosperini, a devoted Panthers fan, said, “At the start of the season, I was hoping for a good run. I never expected us to go undefeated.” Prosperini’s words echo the thoughts of many Panthers fans as they naturally had some degree of pessimism after hearing the disappointing predictions for the 2015-16 team. However, Carolina fans have been pleasantly surprised as the Panthers have clinched the NFC South and earned a playoff spot in just twelve games. Carolina has an impressive resume of wins under their belt; this includes victories against the Packers, Seahawks, and Colts, all of whom are legitimate playoff contenders.

While MVP candidate Newton and the Panthers potent rushing attack, led by Jonathan Stewart, have contributed to the team’s success, an even larger contribution can be attributed to the team’s defense. Led by All-Pro linebacker Luke Kuechly and a stellar defensive line, the Panthers are second in the NFL in rushing defense, allowing just 87.2 rushing yards per game. The Carolina secondary has also been impressive, as Kuechly, fellow linebacker Thomas Davis, and cornerbacks Josh Norman and Kurt Coleman are all in the top fifteen for interceptions.

Prosperini was most impressed by the resiliency of the Panthers this season, saying “We never give up.” In fact, the Panther’s motto is “Keep Pounding”, alluding to their impressive ability to overcome adversity. The Panthers have exemplified this motto over the course of the season.

Carolina has produced results that have proved more successful than anyone could have imagined entering into the season because of Cam Newton, their defense and overall tenacity.