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Mayfield move shows no impact on win total

Acquiring Baker Mayfield did not impact the 6.5-win total the Panthers were predicted at earlier in the year.

The move to acquire the former No.1 overall pick has not improved Carolina’s projected win total of 6.5 earlier in the year.

Earlier this year, the Panthers’ schedule showed three winnable games against the Browns, Giants and Saints. Even with Darnold at QB the odds placed Carolina at under 6.5 wins on the season. It felt like then that was harsh for the black and blue because some of these contests remained outliers with Darnold under center.

The games against the Atlanta Falcons, Seattle Seahawks and Detroit Lions seem like a coin flip. Even with Darnold it seemed like a half and half, but with Mayfield these look more winnable. Yes, Mayfield played abysmal last season, but with a horrible o-line and an injured shoulder, it can be improved in Carolina.

The offensive line needed work, and Carolina made it the top priority in the offseason with Ikem Ekonwu taken sixth overall, signing Austin Corbett, and getting Bradley Bozeman on a one-year deal.

A healthy Christian McCaffrey also makes this team a lot better, and it has not seen CMC at 100 percent since the 2019 season.

It feels like the Panthers are being incredibly underestimated.

This team can fall flat on its’ face and win another five games, and that is possible. With the offseason going the way it has so far for Carolina— this feels like a better team than the 6.5 projected total.

Mayfield does not solve everything, which was noted plenty of times in discussion leading up to the trade, but he adds more to this team. He certainly adds enough to at least say seven wins is not too much for the black and blue.

Let’s review the schedule quickly outside of the division. The Panthers face the AFC North, the NFC west, the Detroit Lions, and the Denver Broncos.

The key to the over on 6.5 is how the Panthers handle the Falcons this year. If Carolina dominates Atlanta and Marcus Mariota, then it feels like the division yields three wins.

Again, the Seahawks and Lions feel like games Carolina can win.

The defense for Carolina ranked second in fewest yards allowed and fourth against the pass. Now, Hassan Reddick departed in free agency, but there is Yetur Gross-Matos who can step up on the edge to fill in. If he does a solid job, Gross-Matos forms a solid duo with Brian Burns that can anchor the defensive line.

A lot of hypothetical situations for Carolina heading into the 2022 season that swing momentum one way or another. The Panthers projected for 6.5 wins early in the year, but the line did not move once Mayfield headed to Carolina.

Carolina may fall hard, but this team seems to be trending in the right direction for an improvement on last year’s disappointing 5-12 record.