NFL Win Totals: Will the Panthers Win at Least 6 Games Next Season?

Aidan McGrath
Aidan McGrath@ffaidanmcgrath

Things did not go according to plan for the Carolina Panthers in 2023. After trading away an absolute haul -- including their 2024 first-round pick and top receiver D.J. Moore -- for the opportunity to draft Bryce Young first overall in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Panthers finished with a league-worst 2-15 record. '

The pick they traded to the Chicago Bears ended up becoming the first overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, making it potentially one of the most lopsided trades in recent history with the benefit of hindsight.

Team ownership fired most of their infrastructure following the season, hiring former Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Dave Canales in an attempt to accelerate Young's development.

Will Carolina's offseason efforts be enough to right the ship? Or will 2024 be more of the same for a Panthers franchise that has posted a 31-68 record since owner David Tepper bought the team in 2018?

Let's take a look at FanDuel Sportsbook's NFL win totals and see how the market feels about their chances this season.

All NFL odds via FanDuel Sportsbook, and they may change after the article is published.

Carolina Panthers 2024 Win Total Odds

Panthers Over/Under 5.5 Wins

  • Over: -128
  • Under: +104

Odds to Make the Playoffs: +490
Odds to Win the NFC South: +1100 (4th)
Odds to Win the NFC Championship: +13000 (16th)
Super Bowl Odds: +30000 (32nd)

Key Offseason Coaching Changes:

  • Fired Frank Reich from Head Coach
  • Hired Dave Canales as Head Coach replacement
  • Fired Scott Fitterer from General Manager position
  • Promoted Dan Morgan to General Manager position

Why Carolina Could Win Over 5.5 Games

  • Bryce Young Takes a Second-Year Leap
  • Canales' Offense Looks Functional
  • The NFC South Is Relatively Soft

The Panthers' season largely depends on the development of quarterback Bryce Young. In hiring Canales as their new head coach, the team is clearly hoping he can do for Young what he has previously done to help revive the careers of Geno Smith and Baker Mayfield.

Smith looked like he was on his way out of the league before earning the Seattle Seahawks' starting gig entering the 2022 NFL season but then churned out 4,282 passing yards with Canales as his quarterbacks coach that season. Canales then took his talents to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where he and Mayfield -- who was likely on his last chance as a starter as well -- led the post-Tom Brady Bucs to the Divisional Round of the 2023 NFL playoffs. If Canales can help emphasize the good parts of Young's game like he did for Smith and Mayfield, the Panthers' offense can improve in a hurry.

Players often look significantly better in their second year in the NFL, so there's hope Young will naturally make that kind of leap independent of Canales' arrival. And with new offensive talent like Diontae Johnson and first-round pick Xavier Legette, the Panthers' O could look better across the board.

As rough as Young's struggles were to watch in 2023, it's fair to say some of the blame laid at the feet of his playmakers. Running back Miles Sanders struggled enough that the team benched him for Chuba Hubbard partway through the year. Rookie Jonathan Mingo had a tough go of it while averaging 4.9 yards per target, and D.J. Chark couldn't get on the same page with Young whenever he was healthy enough to play. That led to Adam Thielen absorbing a shocking amount of volume and producing his first 1,000-yard season since 2018.

In addition to adding Johnson and Legette, the team drafted running back Jonathan Brooks with their second pick of the 2024 NFL Draft, hopefully shoring up their backfield for the new season. And with fourth-round pick tight end Ja'Tavion Sanders adding another pass-catching element, Carolina could look like a fully revamped offense this year.

A functional offense could realistically go pretty far in the NFC South, which has routinely struggled to produce competitive football teams in recent seasons, and the Panthers enter the season with the eighth-easiest schedule going by 2024 win totals. Earning even a couple of wins against teams like the New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers could go a long way towards Carolina getting over the low 5.5-win line. Six wins frankly isn't a very high bar to clear, and just because last year's Panthers fell short, that doesn't mean this year's version of the team will do the same.

Why Carolina Could Win Under 5.5 Games

  • Bryce Young Doesn't Develop
  • The Roster Isn't Good Enough
  • The Defense Can't Hold Up in Real Game Scripts

Without mincing words, Young was miserable in his debut NFL season, finishing 33rd in the league -- which has just 32 starting quarterback gigs to begin with -- in adjusted yards per attempt with a mark of 5.0 yards. Backup Andy Dalton looked considerably better than his rookie teammate in the one game Young missed during the season. Dalton's lone start produced the Panthers' only game of 300 or more passing yards of the year while the 27 points they scored in Dalton's start were the second-most the team mustered all year.

Considering how rough last year was, Young will need to take a big step forward in 2024 to make the Panthers reasonably competitive. We've seen players like Jared Goff and Trevor Lawrence make these leaps before after poor rookie seasons -- so we know it's possible -- but there are far more Zach Wilsons, Josh Rosens, and Kenny Picketts than there are examples of quarterbacks going from the bottom of the league to franchise signal caller after a bad debut season.

Even if Young takes a step forward, there's no guarantee the team's offseason moves are enough to help him capitalize on those gains. The Panthers' WR1 last year was Thielen, and the near-34-year-old Minnesota Vikings castoff led the team with 1,014 yards while averaging just 7.4 yards per target. He's still slated for a major role in the offense this year.

The moves add Diontae Johnson and Xavier Legette may not pan out, either. Johnson offers a potentially similar -- or redundant -- skill set to Thielen, and while Legette showed promise in his fifth collegiate season, he may profile concerningly similar to past Panthers draft busts like Mingo and Terrace Marshall Jr. depending on how you view his resume.

Plus, the offense wasn't alone in its struggles last year. While the Panthers' defense was certainly better than their offense in 2023, Carolina's D still allowed the fourth-most points in the league (416). The offense did plenty to put the defense in bad situations -- Panthers' foes started their drives at their own 31.6-yard line, the second-shortest distance to the goal in the NFL -- but even when the defense had the chance to make plays, the Panthers posted the second-worst sack rate, third-lowest pressure rate, and recorded just 11 turnovers on the year (league-worst).

Young could take a sizeable step forward and still not be able to keep ahead of what could be a brutally bad defense this season. And there's no guarantee Young takes that step forward despite the arrival of Canales and a revamped offensive skill position group. The Panthers could realistically end up with the worst record in the NFL again in 2024, and they have the second-shortest odds to go 0-17 (+6000).

Without major growth on both sides of the ball, Carolina could win five or fewer games in 2024.

Take your sports betting to the next level with the FanDuel Parlay Hub! Explore a curated selection of popular parlays for trending games on FanDuel Sportsbook. Learn about today’s other offers at FanDuel Sportsbook Promos.

Looking for other NFL win totals or the latest NFL odds? Head over to FanDuel Sportsbook and check out all of the NFL betting options.

Sign up for FanDuel Sportsbook and FanDuel Daily Fantasy today!

The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author's advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.