15. Carolina Panthers (18)
The Carolina Panthers have ever reason in the world to be thrilled over Cam Newton being healthy enough to suit up for Week 1 against the San Francisco 49ers when considering all of the issues the Indianapolis Colts are dealing with at the moment. With that being said, as great as it was to see Newton in the lineup, the quarterback’s performance against the 49ers shows he still has a little way to go before he’s at the level the Panthers need him to be.
While the 23-3 victory was certainly impressive, keep in mind that Carolina was facing a San Francisco team that is only expected to win a few games this season. In other words, this wasn’t the best of competition for the Panthers, but in a way, this was the perfect game for Newton to ease his way back into.
Carolina certainly deserves credit for the approach they took with Newton by limiting the quarterback in preseason, and hopefully it’s only a matter of time before he returns to the MVP level from two years ago. The Panthers were one of the league’s biggest disappointments last season with only six ones, but if the offense can live up to the hype, this team should be able to work their way into the level of contenders in the NFC once again.