I have high hopes for the Panthers offense to be one of the best in the NFL. That's assuming 2 things:
1) Return to form for the Panthers rushing attack.
2) Cam Newton is at least as good as last season.
With that offense clicking, the Panthers need the defense to just be average to be a playoff contender. Last season was the perfect storm of terrible injuries to critical positions, and a defense learning a whole new system. If (IF IF IF IF IF) the Panthers can stay healthy on defense, particularly in the linebacking corps, around which the defense is built, they could be at least average, maybe better.
Looking at their schedule, 10-6 looks like a good year. If they finish there, and number 2 in the NFC South, they'll be in the playoffs.
Brian Zoubek on what was going through his mind walking to the free throw line with 3.6 seconds remaining in the 2010 National Championship game and Duke up by 1: "Fifty percent [of me is] thinking, This is what I've been dreaming of doing my entire life. Fifty percent I'm crapping my pants."