2021 NFL Schedule Breakdown: Carolina Panthers
The Carolina Panthers continue their rebuild since releasing former star Cam Newton in 2020. Not only that, but the team allowed wide receiver Curtis Samuel to leave in free agency.
The Panthers will have a new starting quarterback this season. Last year, Teddy Bridgewater was the starter but was traded to the Denver Broncos in the offseason. The team traded Bridgewater after acquiring Sam Darnold from the New York Jets via trade. Carolina also has Phillip Walker, who will most likely be the backup to Darnold. Darnold will be looking for a career revival in Carolina after three seasons of sub-par performances in New York.
Carolina Panthers Schedule:
- Week 1: Sun 09/12 vs New York Jets
- Week 2: Sun 09/19 vs New Orleans Saints
- Week 3: Thu 09/23 at Houston Texans
- Week 4: Sun 10/03 vs Dallas Cowboys
- Week 5: Sun 10/10 vs Philadelphia Eagles
- Week 6: Sun 10/17 vs Minnesota Vikings
- Week 7: Sun 10/24 at New York Giants
- Week 8: Sun 10/31 at Atlanta Falcons
- Week 9: Sun 11/07 vs New England Patriots
- Week 10: Sun 11/14 at Arizona Cardinals
- Week 11: Thu 11/18 vs Washington Football Team
- Week 12: Sun 11/28 at Miami Dolphins
- Week 13: BYE
- Week 14: Sun 12/12 vs Atlanta Falcons
- Week 15: Sun 12/19 at Buffalo Bills
- Week 16: Sun 12/26 vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Week 17: Sun 1/02 at New Orleans Saints
- Week 18: Sun 01/09 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
NFC South: The Panthers currently do not stand a chance to win the division. They have the most electrifying player in the league in Christian McCaffrey, but they play in the same division as the reigning Super Bowl champions. The Bucs are the favorites and the Saints are still a good team despite Brees’ retirement. Carolina may be better than Atlanta, but they still aren’t quite good enough to compete with the Saints or Buccaneers. The reunion of Darnold and Robby Anderson should be interesting to watch, but the Panthers still leave much to be desired on both sides of the ball.
Matchups: The Panthers begin the season with two of three very winnable matchups. They start the season hosting the Jets, which will be a great opportunity for Darnold to face his former team and his replacement, rookie Zach Wilson. The Panthers’ toughest stretch of games will be their last four games of the season when they must face the Buccaneers twice, the Bills and the Saints.
Overall: Carolina is continuing to rebuild and is hoping that Darnold is the right quarterback for the franchise. The team is not expected to make the playoffs, but anything is possible.
Prediction: The Panthers will finish with a 7-10 record in Darnold’s first season with the Panthers.