After the Carolina Panthers schedule got released last week, I thought it would be a good time to take a deeper look at their competition. Their non-divisional opponents in this schedule are the New York Giants, the Seattle Seahawks, the Dallas Cowboys, the Chicago Bears, the Washington Redskins, the Denver Broncos, the Philadelphia Eagles, the Kansas City Chiefs, and the Oakland Raiders.
“We’ve known who we’re going to play since the end of the season, but when the schedule comes out, the first thing everybody looks for is to see if you have national games,” Panthers general manager Marty Hurney said Tuesday on Panthers Pulse. “It means a lot. I think that’s why Mr. (Jerry) Richardson brought the organization to the Carolinas – because he wanted to generate the excitement that those games generate.”
A few things pop out here, their Monday Night Football game versus the Philadelphia Eagles is the Panthers first MNF game since 2009. Their first non-divisional opponent is the defending Super Bowl Champion New York Giants, and all of their NFC East opponents will be tough outs.
CBSsports.com rated the Carolina Panthers schedule strength a 7 out of 10, and I cannot help but agree. They have quite a few tough games against NFC opponents, but then AFC games against the Chiefs, Raiders, and Seahawks should be a bit easier.
“We had a strong finish last year and hope to maintain that momentum for the 2012 season,” said Ron Rivera, whose Panthers won 4 out of their last 6 games. “We play in one of the best divisions in the NFL and play all three division teams plus the New York Giants in the first four games. It’s going to be a challenge, but one that excites us.”
It will be interesting to see how Cam Newton follows up his phenomenal rookie year campaign; it was reported last week that after Newton reviewed last year’s tape that he deems his improvement from last year is “through the roof”. Carolina Panther’s fans will be wanting to raise the roof if that is true, and this football fan cannot wait for next year to start.