Conventional wisdom thought that a team sporting the 2011 Rookie of the Year, and possible Madden cover athlete would be given ample opportunities by the NFL to show off. However, conventional wisdom can often be wrong. The Carolina Panthers will get to star in just two prime time games in 2012- hosting the New York Giants in week three on a Thursday night game on the NFL Network, then heading to Philadelphia for Monday Night Football on November 26th.
While it would be easy to get a chip on one's shoulder it seems the NFL went almost exclusively by team record in picking the schedule. Even organizations like Washington with huge fanbases and RGIII at QB were only given one night game. As usual the Dallas Cowboys got inundated- which is a regular staple no matter how mediocre the team is.
The whole schedule, and at least one pitfall after the jump.
|Sun.||Sept. 9||at Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Raymond James Stadium||4:15 p.m.||FOX|
|Sun.||Sept. 16||vs. New Orleans Saints||Bank of America Stadium||1:00 p.m.||FOX|
|Thu.||Sept. 20||vs. New York Giants||Bank of America Stadium||8:20 p.m.||NFLN|
|Sun.||Sept. 30||at Atlanta Falcons||Georgia Dome||1:00 p.m.||FOX|
|Sun.||Oct. 7||vs. Seattle Seahawks||Bank of America Stadium||4:05 p.m.||FOX|
|Sun.||Oct. 21||vs. Dallas Cowboys||Bank of America Stadium||1:00 p.m.||FOX|
|Sun.||Oct. 28||at Chicago Bears||Soldier Field||1:00 p.m.||FOX|
|Sun.||Nov. 4||at Washington Redskins||FedEx Field||1:00 p.m.||FOX|
|Sun.||Nov. 11||vs. Denver Broncos||Bank of America Stadium||1:00 p.m.||CBS|
|Sun.||Nov. 18||vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Bank of America Stadium||1:00 p.m. *||FOX|
|Mon.||Nov. 26||at Philadelphia Eagles||Lincoln Financial Field||8:30 p.m.||ESPN|
|Sun.||Dec. 2||at Kansas City Chiefs||Arrowhead Stadium||1:00 p.m. *||FOX|
|Sun.||Dec. 9||vs. Atlanta Falcons||Bank of America Stadium||1:00 p.m. *||FOX|
|Sun.||Dec. 16||at San Diego Chargers||Qualcomm Stadium||4:05 p.m. *||FOX|
|Sun.||Dec. 23||vs. Oakland Raiders||Bank of America Stadium||1:00 p.m. *||CBS|
|Sun.||Dec. 30||at New Orleans Saints||Mercedes-Benz Superdome||1:00 p.m. *||FOX|
|* - Subject to flexible scheduling.|
Schedule courtesy of Panthers.com
I really hate the way the season begins. With three divisional opponents in four weeks it ensures the Panthers have no room for error in getting off to a fast start, and their divisional record could be decimated if they carry some minor- niggling injuries into the regular season. To most teams something like turf-toe is an annoyance, to Carolina is could derail the season. The bye is quite favorable, however, and five games in is a good rest point for the Panthers.
Despite the hardships, this is a pretty fun slate of games to enjoy. There are a lot of teams we haven't seen in a while, and with a lot of great out-of-division QBs to see like Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers, and Eli Manning it bodes to be a schedule rife with great offenses.