NFL Schedule 2011: Carolina Panthers Lose Again, Get League's Hardest Schedule

George AndersonAnalyst IIApril 19, 2011

WTF NFL?Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

It wasn’t bad enough that the Panthers released most of their veterans ago, wasn’t bad enough that they couldn’t sign their players to long-term deals and wasn’t bad enough that Andrew Luck decided to stay in school messing up the Panthers’ draft plans. Now, the Panthers lose again as the regular season schedule has come out and it is not pretty.

Luckily, the Panthers start the season against Arizona, who they were able to handle last season 19-12. After is another story as Carolina then gets the defending Super Bowl Champion Packers, followed by the Jaguars, Bears, Saints and Falcons.

Then the Panthers have easier matchups against the Redskins and Vikings, but those aren’t push-overs. The Panthers’ season will hinge on the stretch between the game against the Redskins and the game against the Lions. The Panthers face a troubled Redskins team, a questionable Vikings team and then has their bye week. Afterwards, they will have a Titans team (probably with a new quarterback) and an up-and-coming Lions team.

The Panthers will need to enjoy the first 10 games because that is where six of their eight home games are scheduled. Afterwards, it’s the Colts and Texans away mixed in with the Bucs twice, the Falcons and, of course, the final game is against the Saints.

This looks more like a schedule the Patriots need to be playing, not the Panthers. To no one’s surprise, there are no primetime games and the way the schedule looks that may be a good thing. I don’t know how the worst team gets the hardest schedule in the league, but if the Panthers get spanked around then someone better start changing the way the rotation works.