It’s safe to say that Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhule isn’t exactly having the season that he envisioned. After all, the Panthers are currently in last place in the NFC South with a 5-10 record with two games remaining in the 2021 regular season.
The losing ways continued Sunday as the Panthers fell 32-6 at the hands of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Following the game, Rhule compared his struggles to rapper Jay-Z in an analogy that caught many off-guard.
“I believe it’s 1,000 percent working,” Rhule told reporters when he was asked about the rebuilding efforts in Carolina. “I just know no one can see it, and I apologize. As I tell our team all the time, it took Jay-Z like seven years. He had to start his own agency to become famous, to become an overnight sensation. It takes time.”
Rhule is referring to Roc Nation, which is the entertainment agency that was founded by Jay-Z in 2008. Since then, Jay-Z has become one of the biggest moguls in entertainment and the company even came up with a sports division that represents the likes of Saquon Barkley, Leonard Fournette, and JuJu Smith-Schuster.
This came after “Fire Rhule” chants broke out at Bank of America Stadium on Sunday as the Panthers were being dominated by the Buccaneers.
Rhule is currently in the second year of a seven-year contract that is worth $62 million. The Panthers finished with a 5-11 record in 2020 then haven’t progressed much in Year 2 under Rhule. Over the past two seasons, star running back Christian McCaffrey has missed significant time and is currently out of the lineup due to an ankle injury.
One of the biggest issues for the Panthers has been inconsistent quarterback play. The franchise chose to move on from Teddy Bridgewater after the 2020 season and has replaced him with a combination of Sam Darnold and Cam Newton. Both have had their fair share of struggles and haven’t made life any easier for Rhule’s offense.
It’s unclear if Rhule is actually on the chopping block, but it’s clear that the fans have had enough. If Rhule does make it to Year 3 in Carolina, it appears that this upcoming offseason could be a huge one for the franchise.
The Los Angeles Chargers haven’t won their division since 2009 and have finished third in the AFC West the last two seasons. Prognosticators feel differently about them this year, as quarterback Justin Herbert enters his third season and other stars on both sides of the ball like Austin Ekeler, Keenan Allen and Derwin James return with their sights set on a deep playoff run. The Chargers are 15-1 in the early 2023 Super Bowl odds at Caesars Sportsbook, just behind the defending champions and roommates at SoFi Stadium, the Los Angeles Rams.
White consistently crushes the NFL as SportsLine’s No. 1 NFL expert in picks against the spread, and went 445-378-24 on his ATS NFL picks from 2017-21, which returned $2,542 to $100 players. He’s also well-known for cashing out big in the Westgate Las Vegas SuperContest twice since 2015. Anderson is coming off a dominant 2021 NFL season in which he went 23-9, returning $1,315 to $100 players, and was a perfect 4-0 in the playoffs. Selesnick (aka PropStarz) specializes in MLB, NFL and NBA prop betting, where he implements a combination of research, statistical analysis and mathematical modeling to deliver profitable long-term results.
White is fading the Rams, even though they are the defending champs and 12-1 to repeat this season. Winning back-to-back championships is extremely difficult and hasn’t been done since the New England Patriots did it in 2004 and 2005. Quarterback Tom Brady was in just his fourth and fifth seasons and had already won his first championship in 2002. This year, Rams QB Matthew Stafford will be in his 13th season and he enters with concerns of an elbow issue in his throwing arm.
Although Brady proved to be an exception after Drew Bledsoe was injured in 2001, teams that lose their starting quarterbacks don’t typically go on to win Super Bowls. While most expect Stafford to be ready to go in Week 1, there is concern that someone with his injury history has a higher likelihood of breaking down as the season wears on. Besides Stafford, White has concerns about the overall depth of the Rams’ roster and what it would mean if other star players start picking up injuries.
“While most teams won’t survive the loss of the starting quarterback, the Rams are one of the most top-heavy rosters in the league by design,” White told SportsLine. “So any loss of a star player is going to be more difficult to overcome.”
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