CAROLINA PANTHERS (12-5)
New faces: WRs Jason Avant, Jerricho Cotchery, and rookie WR Kelvin Benjamin. CB Antoine Cason, TE Ed Dickson, FS Thomas DeCoud, SS Roman Harper.
Key losses: WR Ted Ginn Jr., OT Jordan Gross, WR Brandon LaFell, S Mike Mitchell, CB Captain Munnerlyn, WR Steve Smith, OG Travelle Wharton.
Strengths: QB, DE, LB, TE.
Weaknesses: OL, WR, CB.
What's New: Panthers plan to use more two tight end sets with addition of Dickson and turn focus toward running ball. Panthers looking to replace top four WRs from last season. Benjamin, first-round pick, looks like real deal and will start opposite Cotchery. Loss of Ginn hurts return game.
Expectations: Panthers overcame 1-3 start to win NFC South, earning Ron Rivera Coach of Year award. Entire front seven returns from No. 2 ranked defense. QB Cam Newton is coming off offseason ankle surgery and isn't expected to run as much. Panthers expect to compete for another division title, but face stiff competition in Saints and Falcons.
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