Panthers schedule: Carolina has NFL’s toughest in 2020

Dean Jones
(Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) Brian Burns
(Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) Brian Burns /
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Things could get rough on the Carolina Panthers schedule in 2020, which is projected to be the toughest in the NFL by one analyst.

The Carolina Panthers schedule is a daunting one and could bring its fair share of misery in 2020. New head coach Matt Rhule is in for a real baptism of fire that will tell him a lot about the group he has at his disposal.

Realistically speaking, the Panthers schedule is probably going to be a losing one. Just how dramatic this is going to be that will determine which avenue they go down during the next stage of their rebuild.

Whatever success they can generate in 2020 is going to be a massive bonus. The Panthers schedule is littered with tough propositions and it doesn’t make things any easy being in a competitive division like the NFC South.

Aaron Schatz of Football Outsiders has a similar outlook regarding the Panthers schedule, which he ranked as toughest in the NFL next season. With so many changes across the roster, together with relying heavily on a young defense, it is not hard to see why things look especially bleak.

Schatz had this today in an ESPN Insider article on the Panthers’ chances in 2020.

"“The biggest problem for the Panthers is going to be their defense, which has the worst DVOA projection in the league. Carolina already ranked 25th in defensive DVOA a year ago, but from that defense the Panthers have subtracted nine different players with at least 4 approximate value (explained here) last season according to Pro Football Reference. That group is led by seven-time Pro Bowl linebacker Luke Kuechly and two members of the starting secondary, James Bradberry and Eric Reid. In addition, while pass defense may be more important than run defense in the modern NFL, run defense is the stronger factor in predicting the next year’s overall defensive rating. And the Panthers had the worst run defense in the league in 2019.“We forecast that the Panthers’ offense will improve a little bit with Teddy Bridgewater as the starting quarterback. But the Panthers also have the worst special-teams projection in the league; punting is the element of special teams that is most consistent from year to year, and the 2019 Panthers ranked last in the league in net punting value. As an added bonus, the Panthers currently have the hardest projected schedule by our numbers. The other three NFC South teams all have mean projected DVOA in the top 12, including No. 1 New Orleans.”"

While parting ways with so many experienced figures at the same time is never easy. It might be for the greater good as the Panthers look to become contenders once again in the not-too-distant future.

That might come with significant struggles on the Panthers’ schedule in 2020. But with another strong draft next year then things could look far more promising by the time 2021 rolls around.

Rebuilding a franchise takes time and this is something Rhule looks to have on his side. He has formed a good reputation of making bad programs relevant again in college and there is real hope the head coach can do the same at the pro level.

That might come with a free pass in terms of their final record next season. But with so many ambitious plans to rejuvenate the franchise off the field. It is imperative that Carolina has a competitive team by the time these proposals come to fruition.

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This young team full of fresh faces might yet prove people wrong. But it is important to keep looking at the bigger picture if things go south.

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