Welcome back to another edition of ‘The Super Bowl Race In The Perspective Of Chase, a close to daily NFL article previewing your favorite teams season! The Carolina Panthers and Indianapolis Colts haven’t exactly seen success come there way the past few seasons, but maybe this offseason showed that will change in the near future, after both Carolina and Indianapolis found rookie quarterbacks. But how will they adjust to NFL systems? Will they be good? Here is everything you need to know about the Carolina Panthers and Indianapolis Colts going into 2023!
It has to be answered: Can Carolina compete for a postseason position, and is Jonathan Taylor apart of the Colts future?
Last year, both of these teams were two of the worst in the league. For Indianapolis, they ran with Matt Ryan, who despite completing 67% of his passes for over 3,000 yards and 14 touchdowns, was benched due to his 13 interceptions and under seven yards per attempt. But when they ran with Sam Ehlinger or Nick Foles, things just got worse. For Carolina, Baker Mayfield was a disaster, completing under 58% of his passes, and Sam Darnold and P.J. Walker didn’t make matters better. These two teams really needed new quarterbacks!
In the running game, Carolina had Christian McCaffrey until he was traded mid-season, so instead D’Onta Foreman had over 900 yards on the ground and Chuba Hubbard had close to 500. For Indianapolis, it was Jonathan Taylor who carried the rushing attack when he was healthy, but he only had 861 yards since he played just 11 games. In the receiving game for Indianapolis, Michael Pittman Jr. had over 900 yards and Paris Campbell and Alec Pierce each had 590+. For Carolina, D.J. Moore had close to 900 yards and Terrace Marshall Jr. had close to 500.
Defensively, Zaire Franklin had 167 tackles for Indianapolis, a mark that ranked 4th in the league and Bobby Okereke also had 151 tackles. Yannick Ngakoue lead Indianapolis in sacks with 9.5, and Deforest Buckner added on 8. Rodney Thomas also had four picks and Stephon Gilmore was a lock-down corner. For Carolina, Brian Burns lead the team in sacks with 12.5, Frankie Luvu right behind him with 7.0. Shaq Thompson lead the team in tackles with 135, and Jaycee Horn brought in three interceptions.
The offseason for Carolina started with bringing in their new quarterback. Despite finishing 7-10, Carolina traded D.J. Moore and their 9th overall pick to the Chicago Bears to acquire the number one overall pick and selected Alabama QB Bryce Young. Young is one of if not the most ready NFL player, and he has to the potential to big things in this league. Carolina also brought in Adam Thielen to make up for losing Moore, signed Miles Sanders coming off of a 1300 yard rushing campaign, and brought in Jonathan Mingo who I expect big things from.
For Indianapolis, they had the number four overall pick and selected Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson. Richardson may have more potential than anybody in the class, but he does not seem NFL ready after completing just 55% of his passes in college. He is more of a long-term project for Indianapolis. But then there was the whole Jonathan Taylor saga, and to make it short Taylor wanted more money or to be traded and Indianapolis did neither, meaning this could be Taylor’s last year in a Colt’s uniform. Personally, I think it will be, but it will be interesting to see which team he’s on this time next year.
Overall, these two teams I feel are in still different situations. Carolina has a semi-good team and in a weaker division that they could easily win. Indianapolis on the other hand has a non-NFL ready quarterback, mediocre roster and is stuck in a competitive AFC. Expect the Panthers to play well, and the Colts to be a bottom three team in the league!
Prediction: Panthers go 9-8, win the NFC South but lose in the divisional round, while Indianapolis finishes 4-13 with the worst record in the league after Anthony Richardson disappoints expectations in year one!
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