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Panthers Watch 2009: Bye forces no decision

Our newly beloved Carolina Panthers were off this week with a much needed bye week.  The Panthers have been pretty close to abysmal through three weeks of the season and stand 0-3.  Oh but wait, I'm not a Panthers fan!!!  As a 49ers fan, I could not be happier about the performance of the 2009 Carolina Panthers.  I find myself especially excited because John Fox has declared that Jake Delhomme will remain his starting QB with an emphatic YES.

For some of our newer readers who have absolutely no idea what I'm talking about, remember that the 49ers own the Panthers 2010 first round draft pick.  Accordingly, each Sunday (or Monday as was the case last week) I'll be posting a recap of the Carolina Panthers game that day.  Given this week's bye, I thought I'd take another angle on this.  People have discussed the Panthers remaining schedule off and on, but I thought I'd offer up a more formal post for folks to look over the remainder of the Panthers 2009 schedule.  After the jump we do a breakdown with of the Panthers remaining schedule with some quick predictions.

If you're looking to continue the 49ers-Rams post-game discussion, head on over to Florida Danny's recap thread.

10/11 - vs. Washington - W - The Redskins did manage a win over the Bucs today, but Washington is not particularly good.  The Panthers are not going to go 0-16 and with a bye week to prepare for Washington and the idiocy of Jim Zorn, I think they can pull out the home win.  They'll erase that zero next week.

10/18 - @Tampa Bay - W - I think TB could spring the upset at home, but they're going to battle the Rams most of the season for that #1 draft choice.  The Bucs do have some talent on their team, but given their QB troubles and having such a young coach, I don't think they beat Carolina either time this season.

10/25 - vs. Buffalo - L - Buffalo is really struggling and part of this prediction might be in part due to a interim coach early surge.  Yes, I think it's safe to say Dick Jauron does not last the season in Buffalo.  The Bills are a very talented team and I think (or maybe I'm just hoping) they can pull the road "upset."

11/1 - @ Arizona - L - The Cardinals have had their struggles this year, but I think they can pull the home victory over the Panthers.  Part of the problem in predicting these later games is whether John Fox has been canned.  As is the case in my description of Buffalo, a post-firing surge is always a possibility.  Let's keep our fingers crossed that Fox sticks around!

11/8 - @ New Orleans - L - The Saints will destroy them.  I just see no two ways around this fact.

11/15 - vs. Atlanta - L - Part of this will depend on how Atlanta lasts over the course of the year.  Maybe the 49ers can break their spirit next week!  But in all seriousness, the Falcons are a solid team.  Maybe not great, but they are good enough to take advantage of a bad Carolina team.

11/19 - vs. Miami - W - This could be an ugly game that we get stuck with on national television (NFL Network Thursday game).  A short week could mean all sorts of potential happenings.

11/29 - @ NY Jets - L - It'll be interesting to see how the Mark Sanchez is God campaign is going at this point in New York.  Sanchez had a bit of a wake-up call today, so we'll see how he rebounds in the coming weeks.  But the Jets are solid enough all around to take care of business.

12/6 - vs. Tampa Bay - W - Meh.  It's the Bucs.

12/13 - @ New England - L - The Patriots are not downright dominant, but they're starting to take care of their business.  I think they wipe the floor with their former Super Bowl competition.  Still amazes me Jake Delhomme took the Panthers to the Super Bowl.

12/20 - vs. Minnesota - W - Consider this in the midst of Brett Favre's expected end of season swoon.  The Vikings bring a solid defense, but Favre gets into a turnover battle with Delhomme and loses.

12/27 - @ NY GIants - L - I'd imagine the Giants will be battling for something at this point, whether it be a playoff spot, the division title, or some kind of home field advantage.  Given that and how the Giants appear to be rounding into form, I think New York could wipe the floor with the Panthers.

1/3 - vs. New Orleans - L - This is one of the more interesting games on the schedule.  If New Orleans has wrapped up home field advantage for the playoffs (definitely a possibility), they might end up sitting Brees and company a lot sooner than normal.  If that's the case, we could see this flip to the win column for Carolina.  No guarantees, but you never know.

So there you have it.  My quick predictions come out at 5-11.  Obviously there are several games that could go either way in my predictions.  It's also hard when you're looking at a bad team because there is the potential for personnel and coaching replacements.  The Panthers don't exactly have great QB options behind Delhomme.  Of course going with a Matt Moore or A.J. Feeley could actually benefit the team given that they would probably try and rely more on the ground game.  And of course, if the team fires John Fox, who knows what kind of bounce (if any) the Panthers would get.

I did a quick review of the draft order since 2000.  A 5-11 team has drafted as high as 4th and as low as 10th.  Below is the season and then the pick numbers for 5-11 teams.

Year Picks
2008 7, 8
2007 7, 8
2006 5, 6
2005 8, 9, 10
2004 4, 5, 6, 7
2003 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10
2002 5, 6
2001 4, 5
2000 6, 7, 8