American Football

Panthers Schedule Quarterly Breakdown: Fourth Quarter

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Detroit Lions v Carolina Panthers
Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

In this series, we break down the Panthers 2024 schedule piece by piece

With the 2024 NFL schedule officially released in full on Wednesday night, we now have a clearer picture of the road the Panthers will have to take in the first season of the D&D (Dan and Dave) Era. Will the season end up being a natural 20 or a critical fail? Let’s take a look at the matchups during the home stretch of the season.

Week 15: Panthers vs Cowboys, December 15th, 1:00pm, FOX

Week 15 sees the Panthers as the road team in their own stadium. Fans of “America’s Team” constantly invade Bank of America Stadium, so expect louder cheers for the slightly darker shade of blue. The Cowboys still have Mike McCarthy as head coach, Dak Prescott is in the last year of his contract, and Ezekiel Elliott has returned to the team. Despite Jerry Jones promising to be “all-in” in free agency and the draft, they Cowboys have not added many presumed impact players. This could also be seen as the Jonathon Brooks Bowl, since the Cowboys very obviously would have drafted him had the Panthers not traded ahead of them in the second round. DraftKings currently has the Cowboys projected win total at 10.5 games.

Week 16: Panthers vs Cardinals, December 22nd, 1:00pm FOX

The final home game for the Panthers is in Week 16 as they host the Arizona Cardinals. Having a 1:00pm kickoff against a western time zone team is always an advantage, but the Cardinals are vastly improved under head coach Jonathan Gannon. Add in the fact that the Cardinals also added possibly the best player in the draft in WR Marvin Harrison Jr, and this is a game the Panthers can not afford to overlook. While this should be somewhat winnable, DraftKings currently has the Cardinals projected win total at 6.5 games.

Week 17: Panthers at Buccaneers, December 29th, 1:00pm, CBS

Round two of the Canales Bowl takes place in Tampa. The Bucs might be fighting for their playoff lives at this point in the season. Since the Panthers will likely (according to DraftKings, at least) be eliminated from the playoffs at this point, it would be nice for Canales to ruin his former team’s season. DraftKings currently has the Bucs projected win total at 8.5 games.

Week 18: Panthers at Falcons, date and time TBD, channel TBD

The Falcons are expected by many to be the NFC South champions this season after adding Kirk Cousins to play quarterback. If that is the case, this game may have huge playoff implications or may not matter at all. If the Falcons have already wrapped up the division, they may rest starters, and the game would likely be a 1:00pm kickoff. If they have not clinched anything by this point, this game likely gets flexed (especially if the Panthers have not yet been eliminated). I don’t see a scenario where this game gets flexed to prime time, and the most likely scenario is it sticks at 1:00pm. DraftKings currently has the Falcons projected win total at 9.5 games.

Summary

Success for this portion of the season will likely just need to look like improvement, especially from Bryce Young. Closing the year with back-to-back road divisional games is a little tough, especially since those are likely the two teams vying for the division title this season. If the Panthers are able to make it to Week 15 without being eliminated from the playoffs yet, I would consider it a win. Anything above that is gravy.

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