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Could the Panthers pose a threat to the Saints?

Could the new look Panthers rival with the Saints?

Carolina Panthers v New Orleans Saints Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

With the NFC South finishing as one of the weaker divisions last season, there’s reason to assume 9 wins could very easily win the division seeing Tampa Bay won 8 games and clinched the division and had a home playoff game. So far in the offseason, each team has made drastic changes. The Buccaneers go from Tom Brady to Baker Mayfield, the Falcons seem committed to Desmond Riddler, of course the New Orleans Saints went out and landed Derek Carr, and lastly the team we will discuss is the Carolina Panthers who went out and traded for the first overall pick in this year's NFL draft. The Panthers were also voted the 2nd biggest threat in the NFC South this season.

Now considering the Panthers swept the Saints last season when both quarterbacks (Baker Mayfield/ Sam Darnold) went a combined 17/40 213 yards, 1 touchdown, 2 interceptions. It does make you wonder how the Saints managed to lose both of these games, but these are 2 entirely different teams at this point in the offseason. The Saints went out and landed Derek Carr, while retaining weapons like Juwan Johnson and Michael Thomas. Meanwhile the Panthers went out and hired former Colts head coach Frank Reich and built a stellar coaching staff including former NFL head coach Jim Caldwell, while bringing in key additions such as Miles Sanders and Adam Thielen who will help replace the production DJ Moore and D’Onta Foreman had last season. Other veterans include DJ Chark and a couple of former Saints in Von Bell and Shy Tuttle. Pairing these players with the young core of players like Jeremy Chinn, Derrick Brown, Brian Burns, Jaycee Horn, and last year's first round pick Ikem Ekwonu, you really have to like what the Panthers have done so far.

We haven’t even mentioned the fact that the Panthers went out and traded for the first overall pick in the NFL draft and have their choice between Alabama’s Bryce Young, Ohio State’s CJ Stroud, and Florida's Anthony Richardson who all have the traits and skills you want in your franchise quarterback. Considering the moves they have made along with them drafting one of these young quarterbacks combined with the strength of schedule the Panthers face (27th/ Saints sit at 31st) it’s not crazy to imagine the Panthers and the Saints getting in a two-team race for the division crown in 2023. Both teams could easily finish in the top 15 defensively at the end of the season and assuming the quarterback works out for the Panthers both teams have the weapons to create fireworks. It should be a fun and exciting season for both the Panthers and the Saints.

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