4 crucial games the Carolina Panthers must win in 2024

These games may be circled by fans heading into the season.
Dave Canales
Dave Canales / Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
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Carolina Panthers at Bears - Week 5

This one is self-explanatory.

Fans have had to constantly listen to national media talking about what they gave up to move up in the 2023 draft to select Bryce Young. This was then compounded by the fact the Carolina Panthers finished the campaign with a league-worst 2-15 record -handing the Chicago Bears the No. 1 selection.

The Bears used that pick to select USC signal-caller Caleb Williams, one of the most revered quarterback prospects in recent years. Many are tipping the Heisman Trophy winner to be the next Patrick Mahomes. With all the backstory between these two teams, this will be an intriguing encounter.  

It has been reported by many in the national media that Williams has struggled in the early parts of the Bears' organized team activities, almost as if it's normal for a rookie quarterback to have difficulties regardless of their talent and production in college.

One can only hope Williams isn’t hounded like Young if he struggles at any point this season.  

This will be billed as the battle of the No. 1 picks. For Young, getting one over Williams and playing well may go some way to quietening his critics who have had so much to say about the trade-up.  

Carolina Panthers vs. Buccaneers - Week 13

Most games mentioned so far have been penned as an opportunity for Young to redeem himself. However, this game is a huge one for first-year head coach Dave Canales.

After a solitary season as Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator, Canales was chosen as the next man to lead the Carolina Panthers. Many have wondered if he has the necessary experience to be a head coach with just a single year of play-calling experience under his belt. Getting a win against his former team who also happens to be a division rival would be a huge tick in the box.  

Canales was revered around NFL circles for his work to galvanize Baker Mayfield in 2023. Fans saw first-hand just how much the player found life difficult when he was with the team a season prior. Under the tutelage of Canales, he turned things around.

The Buccaneers won the NFC South and were just a touchdown away from forcing overtime in the divisional round of the playoffs. Winning this one will be very satisfying for the first-year head coach.