Breaking down the Carolina Panthers preseason opponents in 2024

These warm-up games should be worth watching.
Aaron Rodgers
Aaron Rodgers / Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

Preseason can be a tricky proposition for fans. They want to get caught up in the excitement with the regular season just a few short weeks away. At the same time, harboring emotional attachment to players who may not be around after final cuts isn't wise.

Although these warm-up clashes have been maligned in recent seasons - especially since the NFL moved to a 17-game slate - it's easy to pick up some warning signs if things aren't going to plan. Panthers fans need only look at last summer for a prime example.

When Carolina's offense looked anemic at best throughout the 2023 preseason, Frank Reich took criticism and concerns with a wry smile. After all, the head coach proudly claimed that he was saving the good concepts for competitive action and didn't want to give anything away on film when nothing much mattered.

The regular season arrived and the bland offensive schematics remained. If anything, they got worse as Reich lacked the energy or innovative thinking to match his bold proclamations before the campaign. He was fired after 11 games, winning just one.

While hopes are high that Dave Canales can be more impactful, it'll be interesting to see how he approaches the preseason. The need to hit the ground running is glaring, so expect to see starters involved over the first two weeks before those fighting for places lower down the pecking order take center stage.

Here's a breakdown of Carolina's preseason opponents in 2024.

Carolina Panthers preseason opposition in 2024

New England Patriots

It's a new era for the New England Patriots after legendary head coach Bill Belichick left the organization this offseason. The perennial Super Bowl winners steadily regressed in the years after quarterback Tom Brady's departure. Jerod Mayo is the man tasked with getting this once-proud organization back to prominence.

The Patriots also have a new quarterback who'll be familiar with Carolina Panthers fans. After turning down trade offers for the No. 3 overall selection, New England took Drake Maye. Whether the former North Carolina star opens the campaign under center is anyone's guess, but he'll likely get some reps against Ejiro Evero's defensive unit during an important introduction to the professional ranks.

Maye's supporting cast is pretty decent, especially on defense. If the rookie signal-caller solves some decision-making and footwork issues, it might not be much longer before the Patriots are back among the contenders.

New York Jets

There was so much optimism surrounding the New York Jets last season. It evaporated after four offensive snaps in Week 1 when quarterback Aaron Rodgers tore his Achilles, ending his campaign almost before it began.

Rodgers should be 100 percent for the season opener, which is again on Monday Night Football against the San Francisco 49ers. While the Carolina Panthers didn't get one primetime game next season, the Jets have no fewer than six. This is a league-high and a testament to the hype surrounding the four-time NFL MVP's return.

Everything seems to be in place for the Jets to make a better go of things next season. Their young defense is elite, the offensive line should improve, and the skill positions look capable of doing more with Rodgers under center. Whether the starters suit up against the Panthers remains to be seen, but Gang Green should be able to make some noise in the ultra-competitive AFC if everyone stays healthy.

Buffalo Bills

No matter how many improvements have been made around the AFC East, the Buffalo Bills remain the team to beat. This preseason game will feature plenty of reunions on both sides given the close connection between the two organizations in recent years. It's also the final chance some will have at carving out roles for themselves.

So long as the Bills have Josh Allen, they'll always have a fighting chance. Stefon Diggs is a problem they no longer have, which might be a good thing if their defense keeps improving and young studs like Keon Coleman hit it off with their new signal-caller throughout the offseason.

Buffalo has enough talent to make a deep postseason run once again. Their margin for error might be slimmer with some suggesting their window is closing following the departures of Diggs and Gabe Davis. That said, no team with such a gifted presence under center should be counted out entirely.

These tune-ups won't matter for some fans who'll be eager to see real games. But based on how the season unfolded last time around - something that began with a lackluster preseason - fans should be watching a little more intently.