When the NFL released the 2012 regular season schedule, we were all anxious to see how many prime time games the Panthers had been appointed. Now that we know the answer to that question, let’s take a look at some of the individual matchups of note. This morning, I’ll be specifically analyzing the second quarter of the season when the Panthers play the Seahawks, Cowboys, Bears, and Redskins. Besides the fact that this may be the most entertaining and intriguing quarter of the entire season, it very well may be the most pivotal, especially as it relates to how good or bad we fared in the first quarter. With that being said, join me after the jump for a quick examination of those four games.
The Panthers dodged a bullet with this one. If this game had been scheduled on the road, the Panthers would certainly have been presented with a much more difficult task. As it stands, they will have the opportunity to take advantage of the fact that
The Cowboys will be looking to take the next step under the guidance of second-year head coach Jason Garrett, who will likely find himself on the hot seat if the 2012 season gets off to a rough start. I also believe this is a make or break year for Tony Romo, who doesn’t seem to have the consistency it takes to get the Cowboys to the next level at this point in time. Even so, Romo is more than capable of leading his team to a victory over the Panthers, especially if we are unable to contain Demarcus Ware, who finished last season with just under twenty sacks. The Panthers could certainly stand to add one more penetrating DE/DT who can wreak havoc on Romo(along with every other QB), and I can think of at least one prospect in the upcoming draft that seems to fit that bill perfectly. I’ll let you use your imagination on that one, and in the meantime, I’ll use mine. The Panthers will beat the Cowboys for their second straight win of the second quarter, and at 2-0, they now have their sights set on a trip to the Windy City.
This may very well be the toughest game of the four. This game will be less about containing a guy by the name of Julius Peppers, and more about limiting Matt Forte. He’s definitely put himself in the upper echelon of running backs over the past several seasons, but the Panthers seem intent on making him out to be the second coming of Walter Payton. Much has also been said about how little Cutler has had to work with when it comes to his receiving corp. That shortage of talent received a major boost when they traded two third round picks in order to acquire the ever dubious, but dynamic Brandon Marshall, and the Bears certainly don’t seem content to stop there, because they’ve already brought in Alshon Jeffrey, Rueben Randle, and Kendall Wright for pre-draft visits. I would like nothing more than to predict a win on this one, but I won't. The Panthers fall to 2-1 just before heading to the Nation's Capital.
I’m a bit surprised the NFL didn’t put this game on prime time. I guess they valued the Vick vs
If Jaxon and I are right, the Panthers will finish the first half of the season at 6-2, which would set them up nicely for a playoff run over the final eight games. Stay tuned for our third and fourth quarter schedule reviews and predictions over the weekend.