Photo Charlotte
The Panthers have the seventh-weakest schedule based on the combined 2020 record of their 2021 opponents. Photo Charlotte

For the Carolina Panthers, the schedule is full of noteworthy opponents. Matchups against familiar faces like Cam Newton and Ron Rivera. Trips to Dallas and New York. The revenge games are everywhere. Playing both the Washington Football Team and Buffalo Bills provides too many opportunities to go against familiar faces to count.

Carolina Panthers in NFL 2021: Schedule

Home: Buccaneers, Saints, Falcons, Washington, Eagles, Jets, Patriots, Vikings

Away: Buccaneers, Saints, Falcons, Cowboys, Giants, Bills, Dolphins, Cardinals, Texans

Week

Date

Opponent

Time

TV

1

September 12

Jets

1:00 PM

FOX

2

September 19

Saints

1:00 PM

FOX

3

September 23

at Texans

8:20 PM

FOX/NFL

4

October 3

at Cowboys

1:00 PM

FOX

5

October 10

Eagles

1:00 PM

FOX

6

October 17

Vikings

1:00 PM

FOX

7

October 24

at Giants

1:00 PM

FOX

8

October 31

at Falcons

1:00 PM

FOX

9

November 7

Patriots

1:00 PM

CBS

10

November 14

Cardinals

4:05 PM

FOX

11

November 21

Washington

1:00 PM

FOX

12

November 28

at Dolphins

1:00 PM

CBS

14

December 12

Falcons

1:00 PM

FOX

15

December 19

at Bills

TBD

TBD

16

December 26

Buccaneers

1:00 PM

FOX

17

January 2

at Saints

1:00 PM

FOX

18

January 9

at Buccaneers

1:00 PM

FOX

Panthers strength of schedule

Photo DraftKings
Photo DraftKings

Carolina's success this season hangs on Darnold living up to the potential we never saw realized in New York. The Panthers' biggest move this season was trading three draft picks (including a second- and fourth-rounder in 2022) for the former Jets quarterback.

In turn, they sent Teddy Bridgewater to Denver for a sixth-round pick.

The team doubled down on the move by using the eighth pick on cornerback Jaycee Horn even though quarterback Justin Fields was still on the board.

Darnold undoubtedly has a better supporting cast in Carolina. He'll have one of the best running backs in the game in Christian McCaffrey, an emergent star in DJ Moore and a sure-handed rookie in Terrace Marshall Jr.

What might not be better is the offensive line he'll playing behind. Taylor Moton is a strong right tackle. He finished 13th among all tackles by PFF. No one else on the line finished higher than 20th at their position in 2020.

The bottom line is there are a lot of "ifs" with this team. If Darnold can play well and if the young defense can improve from being 24th in efficiency, this prediction will be way off. There are just too many hypotheticals to buy into right now.

The only holiday Carolina plays on this year is Halloween with a Week 8 game at Atlanta. It is always spooky when the Panthers play the Falcons.

Other than that, Carolina plays in Miami the Sunday after Thanksgiving. The day after Christmas will feature the Panthers hosting the Buccaneers and the day after New Years Day will include a game in New Orleans. It will be a party down there.

Predictions

The Panthers have the seventh-weakest schedule based on the combined 2020 record of their 2021 opponents (128-143-1, .473). The Buccaneers and Falcons have it even easier, while the first-place Saints have it a few notches tougher.

Carolina has four games against returning playoff teams in its own division. The only two other opponents who made the tournament were Sean McDermott's Bills and Rivera's Washington Football Team.

Toughest tests: The double dose of the Saints and Buccaneers remains a doozy. At home, the Panthers will sweat out the Patriots and Washington most outside of the division. The road has plenty of traps against the Cardinals, Cowboys, Dolphins, Bills and Dave Gettleman's Giants.

Biggest breaks: The Falcons twice makes for a good opportunity. The Texans should be the Panthers' easiest overall game. The Jets and Eagles at home aren't bad outside of the division.

Bottom line: The Panthers are undergoing more big changes in Year 2 of Rhule and offensive coordinator Joe Brady. Darnold is a absolute wild card in terms of what they might get out of him. Carolina's offense seems loaded well and the defense has its share of promising young playmakers. The problem is, the Buccaneers are stacked and the Saints remain strong. The Falcons also figure to be better.

Record prediction: 7-10

**READ MORE: European Super League - List of 12 Football Club Teams

Three things to know about cornerback Jaycee Horn

The Carolina Panthers selected South Carolina cornerback Jaycee Horn with the No. 8 overall pick in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft. Here are three things to know about Horn.

Carolina Panthers Schedule in 2021 NFL: Dates/Time, What to Know about Cornerback Jaycee Horn, Predictions
Photo Carolina Panthers

1. Better than his father?

Horn is another draftee with a famous NFL father as Joe Horn was a wide receiver for 12 years in the NFL, making the Pro Bowl four times. Joe Horn’s best season was in 2000 when he had 94 receptions for 1,399 yards and 11 TDs.

But Jaycee Horn said his father pushed him towards cornerback rather than wide receiver. “Just because of the aggression I had growing up, and with my ball skills, he always harped on that if I could do that at the corner position, one day I would make a lot of money,” Jaycee Horn said after his Pro Bowl. “I pick on my dad, saying he would be able to get over me, and we go back and forth about it a little bit.”

2. Tooting his Horn

Horn played in the first seven games before opting out for the rest of the season. He finished with 16 tackes, 2 INTs and 6 pass breakups, and was named second-team All-SEC. In his last full season, as a sophomore in 2019, Horn had 40 tackes, 1 sack, 9 pass breakups and 2 forced fumbles.

Horn is a physical player who might have to adjust that somewhat in the NFL, especially against receivers more than 5 yards beyond the line of scrimmage. Still, going against top receivers in the SEC and the knowledge from his father makes Horn someone who could start right away in the NFL, reported delawareonline.

3. I got your number

One of the things Jaycee’s father, Joe, was most known for was his cell phone celebration after scoring a touchdown while playing for the Saints in a 2003 game against the Giants. Jaycee was 4 years old at the time, and his mother told him and his siblings that they couldn’t go to the game because it was on a Sunday night and they had school the next morning.

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