With the regular season over, the Carolina Panthers know which teams they will face in 2023. Each year’s schedule is set by scheduling six games against divisional opponents, four games against another NFC division and four games against an AFC division in common with the rest of the NFC South, one game against the same place finisher from each of the other NFC divisions, and one game against the same place finisher from a second, rotating AFC division.
This year, the NFC South is facing off against the NFC North, the AFC South, and the same place finishers from the AFC East. The Panthers finished second place in the NFC South, so they will be facing the second place finishers in the NFC East, NFC West, and AFC East. The NFL has also released the locations for each game. The order will be sorted out later in the offseason. For now, here is what we know of the Panthers 2023 schedule:
Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons, Minnesota Vikings, Green Bay Packers, Dallas Cowboys. Indianapolis Colts, Houston Texans
Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons, Detroit Lions, Chicago Bears, Seattle Seahawks, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, Miami Dolphins
This has the potential to be either a challenging or favorable schedule for the Panthers, depending on how the offseason goes for a lot of teams. The NFC South is a joke, the AFC South isn’t far behind, and the NFC North is a mixed bag of teams.
The best takeaway from this is that beating the Saints didn’t change the Panthers outlook overmuch. That win put the Seahawks, the Cowboys, and the Dolphins on their schedule.
The alternative schedule from a third place finish would have had the New England Patriots, the New York Giants, and the Los Angeles Rams. That’s hardly an easier schedule, based on this year’s teams.
As for the clubs that the Panthers will actually be facing next year? I’m not too scared of them. The Dolphins are making noises about firing their head coach, though they probably won’t; the Seahawks have a big decision to make about Geno Smith’s future; and the Cowboys are under threat of losing much of their coaching assistants to promotions elsewhere. No team is static in this league, and each stands to lose at least as much ground as they are likely to gain.
Without knowing anything about the Panthers own changes in the coming months, I could see this schedule falling anywhere between a five and 12 win season. Obviously, I’ll have a more precise prediction once the 2023 Carolina Panthers have a more defined shape. But the current outlook should be held as “cautiously optimistic.”