Watch Now: NFL Win Totals: Carolina Panthers O/U 5.5 (2:06)

All teams in the NFL undergo some sort of change in the offseason, but few in 2020 can claim the amount of seismic activity present beneath the Carolina Panthers. The organization has undergone a massive shift in culture and personnel, firing longtime head coach Ron Rivera and making the additional bold decision to part ways with former league MVP Cam Newton, replacing him with veteran Teddy Bridgewater -- hoping the latter can instantly mesh with new head coach Matt Rhule. In landing Rhule, the Panthers roll the dice on a leader who's never once coached at the NFL level, but one owner David Tepper simply refused to pass up on.

With teams like the New York Giants set to interview him early this offseason, Tepper swooped in and personally met with Rhule, wooing him to the Panthers on a seven-year deal that drew the ire of other owners around the league. Needless to say, that's a lot of faith in the former Baylor coach, but he'll have the benefit of starting his era in Charlotte with arguably the best running back in the league -- Christian McCaffrey -- having been secured on a historic four-year, $64.06 million deal.

But while there's no denying what McCaffrey brings to the table, question marks are abound for the Panthers. And while there's a chance they'll take a step forward from their 5-11 finish last season, it might take longer than one season to see all of their sweeping changes bear fruit.

(Over/under win totals for every opponent courtesy of William Hill Sports Book)

The Panthers' O/U is 5.5:

Week 1 vs. Raiders

Line: Raiders -1 (PK)
Opponent win total:
O/U 7.5

Prediction: There's a lot of buzz surrounding the Raiders in their move to Las Vegas, but this game isn't being held in Nevada, so strip them of that adrenaline-fueled home-field advantage. With the Panthers opening against them in Charlotte, it's a great chance to leap all over a Raiders team that still feels unsold on Derek Carr, who may try to do too much to prove himself in Week 1. It'll be close, but the Panthers take this one 24-21.

Projected record: 1-0

Week 2 at Buccaneers

Line: Bucs -8.5
Opponent win total:
O/U 9.5

Prediction: The fun from the season opening win comes to an abrupt end when Rhule is tasked with not only trying to outthink a more savvy Bruce Arians, but also considering the presence of Tom Brady in Tampa. Bridgewater and McCaffrey will do what they can, but there are a ton of weapons in Central Florida and Brady's not losing his first divisional home game, if he can help it. The Bucs protect their home field in a 30-17 win.

Projected record: 1-1

Week 3 at Chargers

Opponent win total: O/U 7.5

Prediction: Speaking of hype surrounding new digs, the Chargers will begin play at SoFi Stadium in 2020, and they're looking to prove parting ways with Philip Rivers was the right decision. It's likely sixth-overall pick Justin Herbert will be the starter and his inexperience works in the Panthers' favor, but the Chargers defense is absolutely loaded and could give Bridgewater fits -- as the Panthers drop this one in a 21-10 battle.

Projected record: 1-2

Week 4 vs. Cardinals

Opponent win total: O/U 7.0

Prediction: Carolina will adore returning home after a two-game losing streak on the road, but they won't love who they're up against when they do. Rookie of the Year Kyler Murray is heading to town and with DeAndre Hopkins in tow, as if Larry Fitzgerald wasn't already a handful. This has the makings of a convincing Cardinals win -- to the tune of 33-20 -- it being difficult to fathom the Panthers defense keeping up with so much firepower from Arizona. 

Projected record: 1-3

Week 5 at Falcons

Opponent win total: O/U 7.5

Prediction: A three-game losing streak is never any fun, but what better way to snap out of it than to upset a division rival, and on their own field? The Panthers will desperately need a win at this point of the season if everything unfolds as predicted to this point, and the Falcons will likely take them for granted. Thanks to both of those things, Carolina sends Atlanta to the showers with a 27-13 loss at Mercedes-Benz Stadium and injects much-needed adrenaline into the veins of a rapidly dying season.

Projected record: 2-3

Week 6 vs. Bears

Opponent win total: O/U 8.0

Prediction: It's paramount the Panthers start stringing together wins at this point, and the visiting Bears give them an opportunity to do just that. Be it Nick Foles or Mitch Trubisky, both quarterbacks leave question marks on the table for Carolina to answer with a strong defensive showing at home, while McCaffrey does the rest in a solid 24-17 win to climb back to .500.

Projected record: 3-3

Week 7 at Saints

Opponent win total: O/U 10.5

Prediction: Landing at 3-3 going into Week 7 would be a strong showing for first-time NFL head coach Matt Rhule and his new-look Panthers, and especially with the high-powered Saints on the menu. Unfortunately for them, however, Drew Brees and Co. show no signs of weakening -- instead having upgraded after another dominant regular season in 2019. Too much, too early and too often here for the Panthers to contend with, as they get walked out of New Orleans in a crushing 40-10 defeat. 

Projected record: 3-4

Week 8 vs. Falcons

Opponent win total: O/U 7.5

Prediction: The downside of defeating the Falcons in Atlanta is, well, they'll be out for blood in the revenge game. And considering the Panthers will feel demoralized from the loss to the Saints in Week 7, it's a lot to ask for them to mount a one-week bounceback against a second consecutive NFC South foe, and while they'll give a valiant effort at home, the Falcons walk away with this one -- 30-21.

Projected record: 3-5

Week 9 at Chiefs

Opponent win total: O/U 11.5

Prediction: The hits just keep on coming on the Panthers' schedule. After facing two divisional rivals in a row, they must now travel to Kansas City to face the defending Super Bowl Champions and Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes. The chances of them landing this upset are slim-to-none and despite their best efforts, the Chiefs are simply too much to overcome in a 45-20 victory. 

Projected record: 3-6

Week 10 vs. Buccaneers

Opponent win total: O/U 9.5

Prediction: Ah, another revenge game, and right in time -- it being the Panthers holding out hope they can stave off the visiting Brady in Week 10. It's difficult to sweep a division rival in the NFL, and there's a solid chance the Panthers steal this one from the Bucs, as long as they can force Brady to be uncomfortable in a way they couldn't early in the season. Panthers grab an exhausting 21-20 win here.

Projected record: 4-6

Week 11 vs. Lions

Opponent win total: O/U 6.5

Prediction: Just when some believed hope was lost for the season, the Panthers bounced back against the Bucs and put themselves in position to build another win streak, and the Lions may not offer as much resistance as some believe. If Detroit can't protect Matthew Stafford, it'll be the window of opportunity Bridgewater needs to outscore him in Carolina, grabbing a thrilling 28-24 win in the process and again inching ever closer to the .500 mark.

Projected record: 5-6

Week 12 at Vikings

Opponent win total: O/U 9.0

Prediction: As mentioned, the schedule does the Panthers no favors, as they must now travel Minnesota to face a Vikings team that showed a ton of grit in 2019 -- knocking off the Saints in New Orleans in the playoffs, to boot. If Adam Thielen is healthy at this point of the season, he and Dalvin Cook will help Kirk Cousins avoid a home-field loss, defeating Carolina with a 30-23 final.

Projected record: 5-7

Week 14 vs. Broncos

Opponent win total: O/U 7.5

Prediction: The struggles continue when the Broncos visit, but only if Drew Lock builds on his impressive rookie debut. If so, the addition of Jerry Jeudy gives him another possible 1,000-yard receiver on the field, and it's asking a lot for a Panthers team -- sans James Bradberry -- to halt the potential offensive onslaught in the Broncos victory in Carolina, to the tune of 35-28. 

Projected record: 5-8

Week 15 at Packers

Opponent win total: O/U 9.0

Prediction: Oof. This stretch includes two NFC North teams with the ability to win their division and a lot more, going against a rebuilding Panthers club having to travel to face them. And, unfortunately for them, they'll get the version of Aaron Rodgers still not-so-secretly seething at the decision to select Jordan Love -- feeling he has to again prove he's still got the juice in a late December game that could dictate playoff seeding. Bad news Panthers, but this one won't be pretty, and ends with the Packers winning 38-24. 

Projected record: 5-9

Week 16 at Redskins

Opponent win total: O/U 5.5

Prediction: It's likely both of these teams are out of playoff contention at this point, but that doesn't mean there won't be headlines. It's Rivera going up against his former club, and Rhule trying to prove he was the right man for the job against his predecessor. Time will tell if he is, but he'll steal this game -- with a 24-17 final score -- from a Redskins club who's still working on figuring themselves out as well. 

Projected record: 6-9

Week 17 vs. Saints

Opponent win total: O/U 10.5

Prediction: For a team not in the playoffs, it's all about playing spoiler to someone else. And when that someone else is the Saints, you can bet the Panthers will perform like they might not have all season. It's doubtful this game will determine if the Saints make the playoffs, but it could determine seeding, so let's have some fun and predict the Panthers somehow upset Brees to force them into a lower seed and out of home-field advantage in a 30-27 teeth-grinder.

And with that, although it could've been a better showing in Rhule's debut season, it also could've been much worse; and ending the year with a bang will carry the entire offseason.

Projected record: 7-9