NFL teams are in the midst of training camp and the preseason has begun. What do we expect from the Carolina Panthers in 2017?

It’s safe to say we’re not shy when it comes to getting you ready for the upcoming NFL season. Since March, we have strung together four different series in preparation for the fall. We just concluded looking at all 32 teams’ most improved area. That was preceded by pieces on a club’s best offseason addition, some facts, figures and feats for each squad, as well as an up-and-coming player for each roster.

So call this one for the thumb. With the regular-season rapidly approaching, we’ll take a look at what we could expect from each team. Every team wants to win the Super Bowl. However, 31 teams will obviously be disappointed. So we have been taking a look at all 32 clubs (in original 2017 draft order) and doing a little analysis. You can play catch up right here. So what are we really expecting from the Carolina Panthers in 2017?

On Wednesday evening in Charlotte, the Carolina Panthers take the field in the preseason and face the defending AFC South titlists in the Houston Texans. A year ago at this time, Ron Rivera’s team were getting ready to defend their NFC crown. But it all came apart rather quickly as quarterback Cam Newton took his lumps and the team fell to 6-10.

There are a lot of new faces. The club used its first three picks on offensive help, most notably Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey and Ohio State wide receiver Curtis Samuel. The offensive line now has both Kalil brothers, center Ryan and left tackle Matt. Veteran safety Mike Adams will prove to be a steady influence on the team’s young cornerbacks. And welcome home to defensive end Julius Peppers and cornerback Captain Munnerlyn.

Summation:

Talk about a rollercoaster three seasons? From 7-8-1 and a division title in 2014. To an NFL-best 15-1 and a Super Bowl 50 appearance one year later, the Carolina Panthers plummeted from the penthouse to the outhouse this past season. You get the feeling with the free-agent additions and a rookie class led by McCaffrey that this team should rebound and be right back in the postseason hunt. But it won’t be easy because this looks like a better division than in recent years from top to bottom.

We expect Rivera’s team to finish back above .500. Whether that’s enough to grab a NFC South title or a playoff invitation is another story.

Russell S. Baxter is the NFL lead columnist for EndZoneScore.com and the founder of ProFootballGuru.com. Follow him on Twitter at @BaxFootballGuru.

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