Carolina Panthers Way-Too-Early 2021 Schedule Prediction

Nov 8, 2020; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey (22) celebrates with teammates after scoring during the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

After a 25th anniversary season that concluded with a disappointing 5-11 finish, which put them third in the NFC South Division, the Carolina Panthers are looking ahead with new optimism thanks to the acquisition of Sam Darnold from the Jets. That being said, I’ve already done a run-through for the Browns. Now it’s time for a three-month in advance schedule and record prediction for the Carolina Panthers 2021 season. Do note, I will include scores, and if an asterisk is marked on a game, then it will be primetime/nationally televised.

With all of the extra fluff out of the way, it’s time to take a look at Carolina’s schedule for 2021.

Last Season: 5-11, 3rd in NFC South

Week 1 Sun Sep 12 vs New York Jets (Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, N.C., 1 pm kickoff)

Verdict: W [CAR 27- NYJ 10] – Sam Darnold will get revenge against his old mates on opening week. I think this game will be a breakout game too for Robby Anderson.

Week 2 Sun Sep 19 vs New Orleans Saints (Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, N.C., 1 pm kickoff)

Verdict: L [NO 23 – CAR 14] This one could go either way, but I think the Panthers will have a bit of an emotional letdown. New Orleans is still a good team even without Drew Brees.

Week 3 Thu Sep 23 @ Houston Texans* (NRG Stadium, Houston, 8:20 pm kickoff)

Verdict: L [HOU 29 – CAR 20] Seeing how Deshaun Watson is still with the team, this is going to be another loss. Even though the Texans don’t have Will Fuller, I still think Carolina’s going to be beaten up on the ground.

Week 4 Sun Oct 3 @ Dallas Cowboys (AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX, 1 pm kickoff)

Verdict: L [37-13] Texas will not treat the Panthers too kindly, unfortunately. Prescott is healthy, and with Elliott, Lamb, and Cooper still in Dallas, this one’s going to be a blowout.

Week 5 Sun Oct 10 vs Philadelphia Eagles (Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, N.C., 1 pm kickoff)

Verdict: L [PHI 30 – CAR 14] Jalen Hurts is slowly developing into a solid quarterback. With the weapons he has, I see him going for a big game against the Panthers’ defense.

Week 6 Sun Oct 17 vs Minnesota Vikings (Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, N.C., 1 pm kickoff)

Verdict: W [CAR 26 – MIN 13] Finally the losing streak ends. Brian Burns is probably going to give the Minnesota offensive line fits all day.

Week 7 Sun Oct 24 @ New York Giants (MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J., 1 pm kickoff)

Verdict: W [CAR 20 – NYG 7] Saquon Barkley’s good, but the Panthers are out with a vengeance. I also think Daniel Jones will probably throw a couple of picks.

Week 8 Sun Oct 31 @ Atlanta Falcons (Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, 1 pm kickoff)

Verdict: W [CAR 28 – ATL 17] Julio Jones is no longer there, which puts more pressure on Atlanta’s wide receiver corps. They will not in this case.

Week 9 Sun Nov 7 vs New England Patriots (Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, N.C., 1 pm kickoff)

Verdict: L [NE 21 – CAR 16] First game back in Carolina, Cam Newton will prove he’s still got some gas left in the tank. I think New England is the way to go here.

Week 10 Sun Nov 14 @ Arizona Cardinals (State Farm Stadium, Glendale, AZ, 4:05 pm kickoff)

Verdict: L [ARZ 35 – CAR 13] Kyler Murray’s too dynamic of a quarterback for Carolina to stop. This one’s going to be a rough one.

Week 11 Sun Nov 21 vs Washington Football Team (Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, N.C., 1 pm kickoff)

Verdict: W [CAR 27 – WFT 10] No Fitz Magic here. Ryan Fitzpatrick will be shut down by Carolina’s defense.

Week 12 Sun Nov 28 @ Miami Dolphins (Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, FL, 1 pm kickoff)

Verdict: W [CAR 26 – MIA 14] Tua will have shown flashes of greatness in year 2, but this will be one of his tougher games. Give me the Panthers in this one.

Week 13 BYE Week
Week 14 Sun Dec 12 vs Atlanta Falcons (Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, N.C., 1 pm kickoff)

Verdict: W [CAR 33 – ATL 10] Fresh off the bye week, Rhule comes out with an elaborate game plan that will stump the “Dirty Birds”. Carolina sweeps Atlanta this season.

Week 15 Sat/Sun Dec 18/19 @ Buffalo Bills (Bills Stadium, Orchard Park, N.Y., kickoff time TBA)

Verdict: L [BUF 34 – CAR 7] Josh Allen made some major improvements with Stefon Diggs joining the Bills’ fold last year. Those two will probably cause havoc for the Panthers’ secondary, and they head to a blowout loss.

Week 16 Sun Dec 26 vs Tampa Buy Buccaneers (Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, N.C., 1 pm kickoff)

Verdict: L [TB 41 – CAR 13] I think this is the game that knocks Carolina out of the playoff picture. Tampa Bay is returning all 22 of their starters, and with Tom Brady still, around, the only thing Panthers fans are getting post-Christmas is a big ol’ lump of coal.

Week 17 Sun Jan 2 @ New Orleans Saints (Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, 1 pm kickoff)

Verdict: W [CAR 28 – NO 23] After losing early in the season to the Saints, Carolina will get revenge. Whoever New Orleans’ quarterback would be at this time will take a lot of heat from the defense and cause a lot of trouble.

Week 18 Sun Jan 9 @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, 1 pm kickoff)

Verdict: L [TB 32 – CAR 14] No contest here. Brady will have another dominant game.

Final Record: 8-9
Playoffs?: Miss

I do see an improvement of record, but the optimism will not be enough to carry Carolina to the playoffs.