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 most difficult games are the focus.
Carolina Panthers Most Difficult Games of 2017
1. Week 4 at New England Patriots
Really no surprise here. It’s the defending Super Bowl champions at their house. The Patriots will be in their second consecutive home game. Tom Brady is difficult enough to beat as it is, and home-field advantage only makes it harder. This is without a doubt the toughest game on the schedule.
2. Week 17 at Atlanta Falcons
The Panthers last game of the 2017 season will be against reigning NFC Champion Falcons. The Falcons showcased one of the best offenses the NFL has ever seen last season. Last year’s MVP, Matt Ryan, will look to continue his dominance in the air against Carolina’s weak secondary. Atlanta’s young, fast, and physical defense will give Cam Newton a difficult time as well.
3. Week 6 vs Philadelphia Eagles
The Panthers will be coming off of a road game at the Detroit Lions just four days prior to this Thursday night matchup. The Eagles aren’t much of a threat, but anytime you have to play twice in five days, it’s going to be difficult.
4. Week 8 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Next to the Falcons, the Buccaneers are the toughest opponent in the NFC South. Jameis Winston got some new weapons on offense and Doug Martin should be back to full strength. The Buccaneers defense looks solid on paper and should make it hard for Newton to move the ball.
5. Week 9 vs Atlanta Falcons
Again, it’s the defending NFC champs, eager to avenge last season’s epic collapse. The Falcons will be in their third consecutive road game but should be coming off a huge win against the Jets. Carolina will have home-field advantage, but they will still have to find a way to slow down Julio Jones.
6. Week 16 vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers
It’s the second to last game of the season and Tampa Bay will likely be pursuing a wild card spot. Who knows; maybe even a division championship. Either way, the Buccaneers will be motivated and bring a strong team to Carolina.
7. Week 15 vs Green Bay Packers
Green Bay will likely already have a playoff spot clinched by this time. Seeding could still be on the line and the Packers are good enough to battle for a top three seed. Aaron Rodgers will have a field day against the weak Carolina secondary, but the defense may not be able to stop Cam Newton and company. This will be a difficult game for the Panthers that could end up being a shoot out.
8. Week 14 vs Minnesota Vikings
Gone are the days of Adrian Peterson in a Vikings uniform. That doesn’t mean their offense is weak, however. Teddy Bridgewater will be coming back and looking to silence the critics. Minnesota could very well be pushing for a wild card spot here in week 14 and their defense will be a problem for the Panthers offense.
Now that we’ve covered the top eight, why not take a look at the Panthers easiest games this year?
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