During July, the Last Word On Sports NFL department has been analyzing the schedules of every team in the NFL. We will be ranking each game in order of difficulty (with one being the most difficult). This series will be split up into the eight most difficult games (ranked 1-8) and the eight easiest games (ranked 9-16) for each team. In this article, the Carolina Panthers easiest games are the focus.
Carolina Panthers Easiest Games of 2017
9. Week 13 at New Orleans Saints
The Saints are nowhere near the team they were when they won the Super Bowl. Drew Brees will still get 300 yards or more through the air, but the defense just isn’t very strong. If the Panthers can keep Cameron Jordan in check, Cam Newton should be able to move the ball. If there’s one thing New Orleans still has, though, it’s the fans. Winning in the Super Dome is going to be tough.
10. Week 5 at Detroit Lions
Detroit has one of the most underrated quarterbacks in Matthew Stafford. There’s no longer a “Megatron” Calvin Johnson to throw to, but that could end up being a good thing for Stafford’s development. The Lions are capable of making plays on defense as well.
11. Week 3 vs New Orleans Saints
This will be Carolina’s second consecutive home game. After what should be easy matches against the 49ers and Bills, the Panthers should be fresh and ready to take on the division rival Saints. As previously stated, the Saints aren’t the team they used to be. This should be a fairly easy one for Carolina.
12. Week 10 vs Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins are an interesting team. They have a new head coach and a defense that has shown the ability to make plays. Jay Ajayi is one of the better running backs in the league right now, but Ryan Tannehill is just a liability. Miami will be coming off of matches against the Ravens and Raiders. Expect them to be gassed when the Panthers come to town.
13. Week 2 vs Buffalo Bills
The Buffalo Bills are one of those teams that have the potential to be really good. The big question still seems to be at quarterback, however. Tyrod Taylor has been consistent the last two seasons, but the Bills just don’t seem to have faith in him. It will be fun to see how rookie Zay Jones and vetern Sammy Watkins develop as a duo but expecting big things in week two is asking a lot.
14. Week 7 at Chicago Bears
Other than Jordan Howard, the Bears just don’t bring much to the table. They got rid of Jay Cutler without bringing in a viable replacement. They traded up in the draft to select the most hyped up quarterback with the least amount of experience in Mitchell Trubisky. Chicago also let Alshon Jeffery, their best receiver, walk during free agency. Anyone who thinks the Chicago Bears aren’t in full rebuild mode is naive. This should be easy work for the Panthers.
15. Week 12 at New York Jets
The New York Jets are the new Cleveland Browns. New York has a good coach and that’s about it. It might be time to dive head first into the Christian Hackenberg experiment for the Jets, even if they let his best receiver, Brandon Marshall, walk. This will be Carolina’s first game back from the bye week. Sorry Jets fans, home field advantage just isn’t going to be enough to stop a fresh Panthers team.
16. Week 1 at San Francisco 49ers
Arguably the worst team in the NFL right now. San Francisco had a decent draft and definitely addressed some of their defensive needs. However, this team is still far from being even remotely competitive. Brian Hoyer will likely be the starting quarterback while Kyle Shanahan either grooms C.J. Beathard or decides which quarterback he’ll take in next year’s NFL Draft. Even though it’s a road game, Carolina starts their 2017 season with the easiest game of their schedule.
Now that we’ve covered the bottom eight, why not take a look at the Panthers most difficult games this year?
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