Inside the Panthers

USA Today tabs Panthers as NFC South winners in 2015

USA TODAY picked Ron Rivera’s Panthers to win the NFC South for a third consecutive season in the publication’s annual NFL predictions.
USA TODAY picked Ron Rivera’s Panthers to win the NFC South for a third consecutive season in the publication’s annual NFL predictions. jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

For those who think the national media generally dislikes the Panthers, I present USA TODAY’s Nate Davis as evidence against that theory.

In the outlet’s annual NFL predictions, Davis sees the Panthers winning the NFC South for a third consecutive season and finishing 11-5.

Here’s what Davis has to say about his pick: “Cam Newton is healthy from a mind, body and bank account perspective. He and his formidable defense will also face just four playoff teams from last season.”

Behind the Panthers in Davis’ estimation are the Saints (10-6), Falcons (4-12) and Bucs (4-12).

Excited yet? Well here’s where the fun ends.

Davis picks Carolina to earn the No. 3 seed in the NFC playoffs and host a wild card game against sixth-seeded Rams. Davis takes the Rams in an upset bid, handing the Panthers their third playoff loss in their past four home playoff games.

For what it’s worth, Davis has the Packers topping the Colts in Super Bowl 50.

Jonathan Jones: 704-358-5323, @jjones9

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