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Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Panthers schedule analysis


Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas

Breakdown: We already knew the Panthers faced the second toughest schedule in the league based on opponents' winning percentage in 2008. Now that we've seen how the schedule sorts out, it doesn't look any easier.

The Panthers open against a pair of playoff teams (Philadelphia and Atlanta) and it's hard to look at the schedule and find any easy games right now.

As John Fox tries to put together back-to-back winning seasons for the first time in his career, he faces a schedule that's highlighted by a road trip to Arizona to face the defending NFC champions. The Cardinals blew out the Panthers in last season's playoffs, so there is a shot at revenge. Fox and the Panthers also face a trip to Giants Stadium on Dec. 27 and it's pretty easy to forecast the weather won't be particularly warm that day.

Here's the complete NFL schedule.

Complaint department: The Panthers get a pair of prime-time home games and that's good. But the opponents are Minnesota and Miami. Wouldn't it have been nice to put the Panthers up against any one of their three NFC South foes in prime time?

The Peppers watch: Speculation still is swirling about the future of Julius Peppers in Carolina. Interestingly, the Patriots, who have been reported to have some interest in a trade, are on Carolina's schedule in December.

Carolina Panthers regular-season schedule (All times Eastern)

Week 1: Sunday, Sept. 13 PHILADELPHIA EAGLES 1:00 p.m.
Week 2: Sunday, Sept. 20 at Atlanta Falcons 1:00 p.m.
Week 3: Monday, Sept. 28 at Dallas Cowboys 8:30 p.m. ESPN
Week 4: BYE WEEK
Week 5: Sunday, Oct. 11 WASHINGTON REDSKINS 1:00 p.m.
Week 6: Sunday, Oct. 18 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1:00 p.m.
Week 7: Sunday, Oct. 25 BUFFALO BILLS 4:05 p.m.
Week 8: Sunday, Nov. 1 at Arizona Cardinals 4:15 p.m.
Week 9: Sunday, Nov. 8 at New Orleans Saints 4:05 p.m.
Week 10: Sunday, Nov. 15 ATLANTA FALCONS 1:00 p.m.
Week 11: Thursday, Nov. 19 MIAMI DOLPHINS 8:20 p.m.
Week 12: Sunday, Nov. 29 at N.Y. Jets 1:00 p.m.
Week 13: Sunday, Dec. 6 TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS 1:00 p.m.
Week 14: Sunday, Dec. 13 at New England Patriots 1:00 p.m.
Week 15: Sunday, Dec. 20 MINNESOTA VIKINGS 8:20 p.m.
Week 16: Sunday, Dec. 27 at N.Y. Giants 1:00 p.m.
Week 17: Sunday, Jan. 3 NEW ORLEANS SAINTS 1:00 p.m.