10. Carolina Panthers
The NFC South was an extremely ugly division to watch this past season, and the Carolina Panthers ended up winning the title with a 7-8-1 record. That type of record isn’t usually expected to be a playoff team, but they were lucky enough that the New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons struggled just as badly this year.
Carolina dominated the Falcons by a final score of 34-3 to win the division, and they are beginning to play their best football at the right time. Despite that dominant performance against Atlanta, they can’t be vaulted up any higher on this list. The fact of the matter is that they still have a lot to work on offensively, and they need to continue playing the type of defense that they played last week.
Cam Newton has made the best out of a situation in which he lost his top three wide receivers, but he has embraced rookie Kelvin Benjamin as his new number one target.
If the Panthers can continue their running game that has been seventh in the NFL, it will take an enormous load of pressure off of Newton. They have one of the most talented defenses in the NFL, but they need that defense to show up and stay consistent throughout their entire wildcard game against Arizona to come away with a win.
Next: 9. Pittsburgh Steelers