Panthers Schedule Review & Prediction: 1st Quarter

Can the Panthers beat the SB champ Giants in a week 3 Thursday Night game in Charlotte?

As you know the NFL released the 2012 regular season schedule a couple days ago so in response we have a 4 part series looking at the schedule by quarter. We discussed the schedule on Cat Scratch Radio Tuesday night in more of shoot from the hip fashion. Now that I've had time to ponder the line up here's my take on the first quarter of the schedule.
Obviously it's always important to get off to a good start. I have to give a hat tip to Panther Fan In Ga for his post on how improtant the first half is, and I agree. When you look at the Panthers first quarter though you quickly realize the first two games are critial since they are divisional games. A slow start and the Panthers could be in an early hole.

Game 1: Panthers @ Tampa Bay; Sunday Sept 9th 4:15pm - It's always tough opening on the road but this should be a winnable game for the Panthers. The Bucs have a new coach and their defense has some noticeable holes and one dimensional offense. Strike that...they now have WR Vincent Jackson and if they pick up CB Morris Claiborne in the draft as expected they could improve this team quickly. Still, I'm not seeing it right out of the gate. Panthers win due to Bucs turnovers and start 1-0.

Game 2: Saints @ Panthers; Sunday Sept 16th 1:00pm - This is sure to be a very emotional, high intensity game due to the relevation the Saints had placed a bounty on Cam Newotn last season. Being the Panthrers home opener I think that advantage will be enough to push the Panthers over a dysfunctional Saints team still reeling from the coaching upheaval and the Drew Brees contract situation. Panthers (2-0) grind out a win by running the ball early and often.

More after the jump...

Game 3: Giants @ Panthers; Thursday Sept. 20th 8:20pm - Being the Giants are the defending champs it would be prudent to assume the Panthers lose this one. But let's remember the Giants were not a top seed in the 2011 playoffs and struggled early last season. A SB victory hangover could still be in affect. I would also like to think the Panthers would be very emotional in this game given it's a TNF game but it could be countered given they are coming off an emotional victory over the Saints and the Panthers have a short week to prepare. I know most will call this a Homer pick but I do think the Panthers will protect their house and pull out a dramatic victory to start the season off right. Panthers (3-0) win!

Game 4: Panthers vs. Falcons; Sunday Sept 30th 1:00pm - In recent years the Falcons have played the Panthers tough and though I hope for a drop off from the Falcons in 2012 I don't think we beat them in the ATL. The Panthers play a sloppy game and and fall to 3-1.

Putting aside your Homer instincts if you can, is a 3-1 start realistic Panthers fans? Take the poll.

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