Carolina Panthers schedule 2024: Takeaways, predictions

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

CHARLOTTE, N.C -- The Carolina Panthers' 2024 schedule was released along with the rest of the NFL slate Wednesday.

The league didn't do first-year head coach Dave Canales any favors. He will begin the process of rebuilding the league's worst team last season by playing two of his first three games and three of his first five on the road against the New Orleans Saints, Las Vegas Raiders and Chicago Bears.

That also means the process of rebuilding quarterback Bryce Young, coming off a dreadful rookie season after being the top pick of the 2023 draft, begins in front of loud, hostile crowds.

But if Canales and Young can survive those games, they can take solace in having the third-easiest schedule in the NFL based on last year's results.

Here's what's in store for the Panthers:

Week 1: Sept. 8 at New Orleans

Week 2: Sept 15 vs. Los Angeles Chargers

Week 3: Sept 22 at Las Vegas

Week 4: Sept. 29 vs. Cincinnati

Week 5: Oct. 6 at Chicago

Week 6: Oct. 13 vs. Atlanta

Week 7: Oct. 20 at Washington

Week 8: Oct. 27 at Denver

Week 9: Nov. 3 vs. New Orleans

Week 10: Nov. 10 vs. N.Y. Giants (Munich, Germany)

Week 11: Nov. 17 BYE

Week 12: Nov. 24 vs. Kansas City

Week 13: Dec. 1 vs. Tampa Bay

Week 14: Dec 8 at Philadelphia

Week 15: Dec: 15 vs. Dallas

Week 16: Dec. 22 vs. Arizona

Week 17: Dec. 29 at Tampa Bay

Week 18: Jan. 4 or 5 at Atlanta*

*Date for Week 18 to be determined

Strength of schedule: The Panthers are tied for the third-easiest schedule in the league (opponents had a .467 winning percentage in 2023).

Over/Under: 4.5

Biggest takeaway

The shine wore off of Young quickly. The No. 1 overall pick of the 2023 draft was enough to get the Panthers two prime-time games last season after having no more than one per season the previous four. But after a rookie season in which Young was 2-14 and ranked 29th among 30 qualified quarterbacks in Total QBR (33.4), Carolina is the only team without a prime-time game in 2024. It's the first time they've been without one since 2011 and only the second time ever (2002 following a 1-15 season).

Revenge game

When you're coming off an NFL-worst 2-15 record, every game feels like revenge. But for the Panthers it has to be the Nov. 10 trip to Munich, Germany, to play the Giants. They will face Panthers' 2019 first-round pick Brian Burns after turning down two first-round picks in a 2022 trade offer, believing they would get a long-term deal done. They never were willing to meet Burns' price and wound up trading him to the Giants with a fifth-round pick in exchange for a second-rounder (No. 39), fifth-rounder (No. 141) and fifth-rounder (2025). Burns will be out to prove Carolina made a mistake. The Panthers will be out to prove they can succeed without him.

Bold prediction

The Panthers will win eight games. It doesn't get much bolder than this since they've averaged 5.1 wins the past six seasons and haven't won more than seven games in a season since 2017, when they went 11-5. But with the league's third-easiest schedule, a weak NFC South and a much-improved roster, the potential is there. Remember, they won seven games in 2002 coming off an NFL-worst 1-15 record.