I really thought I'd take heat for putting the Dallas Cowboys so near the bottom, but I obviously underestimated the hate fans have for the Cowboys in general. It must be the arrogance of "America's Team" that rubs anyone who isn't a Cowboy fan the wrong way. In any case, I felt good about where I put them and am glad to have people vocalized their support.
As for the Carolina Panthers here, I am simply not a believe in Cam Newton the leader yet. He strikes me as a quitter when the chips are down. He may not always strike me that way, because maturity comes at different times for different people. That said, I need to see it before I start to believe it and until I do, they are a sub-.500 football team in my eyes.
25. Carolina Panthers (2012 Record: 7-9)
The Panthers had a great draft this year, so why the step backwards? Because their best draft picks probably won't be NFL-ready until their second year in the league. They picked up defensive tackles with their first two picks and that position is notorious for young players to slowly develop.
Another reason is Cam Newton. As dynamic and explosive he is, I still sense his maturity level is awfully low, which means he will continue to be inconsistent and underachieving. You have to put in the time and study the film if you want to dominate in the NFL. Talent only gets you so far.
The only way I am way wrong is if their two defensive tackles suddenly start dominating in year one and Cam Newton goes into full beast mode all year long, but I think both of those are at least a year away from happening. Overall, I like where this franchise is heading, they are just not quite there yet.