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Phil & Mel In The Morning

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Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey had a respectable rookie season last year.  After Friday night’s exhibition game against the Miami Dolphins at Bank of America Stadium, Christian looks like he might be on the verge of becoming an NFL superstar.

In the opening drive of the Panthers’ 27-20 win, McCaffrey peeled off a 71-yard touchdown run that was nothing short of spectacular. The 5’11” back also appears to have put on some weight and muscle in the off-season. He’s currently listed at 205 lbs. and may soon be carrying more figurative weight as a rising fan favorite.

Grant Halverson/Getty Images

It has been hard to project how well this Panthers team will do this year. With all of the Jerry Richardson-related turmoil and subsequent ownership change, one could understand if the team looked a bit unsettled. But under Ron Rivera’s stabilizing leadership on the sidelines, plus promising preseason performances from McCaffrey and others, Panther Nation might have good reason to feel optimistic about the upcoming regular season schedule:

Sun, 9/9 HOME vs. Dallas, 4:25 PM (FOX)
Sun, 9/16 AWAY vs. Atlanta, 1:00 PM (FOX)
Sun, 9/23 HOME vs. Cincinnati, 1:00 PM (CBS)
Sun, 9/30 BYE
Sun, 10/7 HOME vs. New York Giants, 1:00 PM (FOX)
Sun, 10/14 AWAY vs. Washington, 1:00 PM (FOX)
Sun, 10/21 AWAY vs. Philadelphia, 1:00 PM (FOX)
Sun, 10/28 HOME vs. Baltimore, 1:00 PM (CBS)
Sun, 11/4 HOME vs. Tampa Bay, 1:00 PM (FOX)
Thu, 11/8 AWAY vs. Pittsburgh, 8:20 PM (FOX)
Sun, 11/18 AWAY vs. Detroit, 1:00 PM (FOX)
Sun, 11/25 HOME vs. Seattle, 1:00 PM (FOX)
Sun, 12/2 AWAY vs. Tampa Bay, 1:00 PM (FOX)
Sun, 12/9 AWAY vs. Cleveland, 1:00 PM (FOX)
Mon, 12/17 HOME vs. New Orleans, 8:15 PM (ESPN)
Sun, 12/23 HOME vs. Atlanta, 1:00 PM (FOX)
Sun, 12/30 AWAY vs. New Orleans, 1:00 PM (FOX)