Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhule named Baker Mayfield the starting quarterback Monday. The Panthers turn the offense over to Mayfield following a terrible year with Sam Darnold. Say what you will about Mayfield, he’s an immediate upgrade over Darnold and raises Carolina’s ceiling.
There’s a world where the Panthers make the playoffs with Mayfield at quarterback. But, OVER CAROLINA PANTHERS 6.5 REGULAR-SEASON WINS (+100) at PointsBet Sportsbook is a ticket I’ll have in my portfolio.
Buying Panthers Stock With Mayfield Starting
Darnold was 4-7 as a starter in 2021. He had the second-worst Quarterback Rating and the second-worst Pro Football Focus grade for a QB last year. However, Mayfield makes the Panthers a better team and provides value to a couple of Carolina futures
Mayfield set a then-rookie record for TD passes in 2018 (27). He led the 2020 Browns to their 1st-playoff victory in more than 20 years. Darnold has by far the worst expected points added (EPA) plus completion percentage over expectation and success rate in the NFL since 2018, per RBSDM.com.
Also, Mayfield has proven he can guide a talented offense and he’s got weapons in Carolina. Carolina’s WR corp is at least league average. Panthers RB Christian McCaffery is an Offensive Player of the Year candidate when healthy.
Furthermore, there’s a “back against the wall” vibe with the Panthers that I dig. Carolina goes into rebuild mode if 2022 is a failure. Mayfield’s underdog mentality is perfect for this team.
Rhule is out if the Panthers miss the playoffs. Mayfield becomes a free agent after the season. The running back is a dying position in the NFL so CMC’s future in Carolina is flimsy.
Carolina’s Defense Has Top-10 Potential
Darnold is a major reason Carolina’s defense flew under the radar. Panthers’ opponents had the best starting field position in the NFL. But, Darnold’s turnover woes led to the Panthers ranking 21st in points allowed last year.
More importantly, the Panthers have talent on all three levels of the defense including stud pass-rusher DE Brian Burns, LB Shaq Lawson and shut down CB Jaycee Horn.
Finally, Carolina has several bounce-back metrics in its favor. The Panthers were -13 in turnover differential and 2-6 in one-score games. Carolina lost an NFL-leading 10 games despite holding a lead at some point in the game, per Warren Sharp. Typically, turnover differential and coin-flip games have high variance and regress year over year.
If Mayfield protects the ball, the Panthers will be in good shape. Carolina has the run game and defense to put away close games.
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- A $100 wager on the Panthers Over 6.5 wins (+100) earns a $100 profit if Carolina wins seven or more games.
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