One of my favorite days of the off season is when the NFL schedule comes out. I don’t recall there being a three hour production on the schedule in years past but in the day in age of the players declaring the team they are signing with by shaving it into the back of their head, and LeBron’s decision, why not have a show to announce the schedule that is as long as one of the Lord of the Rings movies.
Every year my brother and my dad and I call each other on this day to discuss which games we are going to make it to, which prime time games the Panthers have, when is the bye week so on and so on. So here is my take on this year’s lineup.
My first reaction was, well I can’t exactly print what that reaction was so let’s just err on the side of caution and say I wasn’t happy. Only two prime time games and only one of them is at home. I thought for sure the NFL would have made that game with Denver at home a Monday nighter. I’m a little bit in shock that we didn’t get that game under the lights particularly since the Monday night game for week 10 is the Chiefs at the Steelers. I feel like the Panthers got slighted and maybe even a little disrespected by the lack of night games. So instead of being negative let’s look at the two night games we do have, the first one coming in week 3 against the Super Bowl Champion New York Giants on a Thursday night. I like the fact that we have the Thursday night game at home. Due to the fact that some television providers don’t make the NFL network available it is hard to watch some of the Thursday night games, so at least I will be able to catch it at the stadium.
The other night game we have is Monday Night Football against the Eagles during week 12. It will be Cam Newton vs Michael Vick and there will be no love lost in this one. The Panthers have a well-documented history against Michael Vick especially during his days in Atlanta. I’m also sure the Eagle’s fans will remember when the Panthers came into Philly in the 03 NFC Championship game and beat them.
A few other highlights in the schedule are the week 2 home opener against the Saints. Not only is the home opener always a big game no matter who we play but a divisional rival is always a great way to open the season. Especially against a team that we found out in this off season put a bounty on Cam Newton. Week 7 against the Cowboys at home coming off the bye is an interesting game. We always seem to play well against Dallas at home and that game will be a pivotal one before we head out to Chicago and Washington back to back weeks. The Panthers will also be visiting Ron Rivera’s former team the San Diego Chargers in week 15.
The Panthers’ schedule seems to be top heavy with games against the Saints, Giants, and Falcons, all three playoff teams in the first four weeks. As I said before I also think the stretch of games between weeks 7-9 will be a crucial point in the season. They also have a short week before they head out to Kansas City on December 2nd. If Carolina can keep its head above water in the first half of the season they should be able to make a playoff run in the final weeks. Of course we still have five months before we even see the first kick off but hey who doesn’t like to speculate.
One of the new things this year is that week 17 is all divisional games. This will make the final week of the season all the more exciting as even more will be on the line. Not only will the playoffs be decided in the final week but with all the games being divisional most of the games will be some type of rivalry game. The Panthers will be in New Orleans to finish the season for the second year in a row. The other change is the adding of Thursday night games from week 2 to week 15. This will give all 32 teams at least one night game this year.
These are my games of the week for all seventeen weeks around the league (subject to change throughout the season): Week 1 49ers at Packers. Week 2 Jets at Steelers. Week 3 Patriots at Ravens. Week 4 Saints at Packers. Week 5 Broncos at Patriots. Week 6 Giants at 49ers. Week 7 Lions at Bears. Week 8 Falcons at Eagles. Week 9 Bills at Titans. Week 10 Broncos at Panthers. Week 11 Ravens at Steelers. Week 12 Patriots at Jets. Week 13 Saints at Falcons. Week 14 Texans at Patriots. Week 15 49ers at Patriots. Week 16 Chargers at Jets. Week 17 Bears at Lions.
Here is the full Panthers 2012 Schedule:
1 9/9/12 at Tampa Bay 4:15PM
2 9/16/12 New Orleans 1PM
3 9/20/12 NY Giants 8:20PM
4 9/30/12 at Atlanta 1PM
5 10/7/12 Seattle 4:05PM
6 10/14/12 BYE
7 10/21/12 Dallas 1PM
8 10/28/12 at Chicago 1PM
9 11/4/12 at Washington 1PM
10 11/11/12 Denver 1PM
11 11/18/12 Tampa Bay 1PM
12 11/26/12 at Philadelphia 8:30PM
13 12/2/12 at Kansas City 1PM
14 12/9/12 Atlanta 1PM
15 12/16/12 at San Diego 4:05PM
16 12/23/12 Oakland 1PM
17 12/30/12 at New Orleans 1PM
As always feel free to send me your thoughts, praise, and hate mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Disclaimer: the views and opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily reflect those of Sports Radio 610 AM WFNZ The Fan.