How strong is the Carolina Panthers season schedule in 2023?

Frank Reich
Frank Reich / Justin Casterline/GettyImages

How strong is the regular-season schedule upcoming for the Carolina Panthers under new head coach Frank Reich and quarterback Bryce Young in 2023?

Excitement is building as the Carolina Panthers find out their 2023 regular-season schedule structure later this week. After one of the most eventful offseasons in franchise history, fans are looking forward to the upcoming campaign with a sense of optimism that was never evident when Matt Rhule and his constant stream of quarterback failings blighted the franchise.

Head coach Frank Reich is eager to make major improvements and has laid every foundation possible to ensure progress in 2023. The roster looks deeper, there is an elite coaching staff at the team's disposal, and Bryce Young provides a long-term plan at the quarterback position following the Panthers' bold trade to No. 1 overall in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Looking at the current state of affairs within the NFC South, the division looks wide open and there for the taking. If the Panthers build some early momentum when competitive action begins, it might be enough to mount a serious title challenge when push comes to shove.

Carolina Panthers have favorable strength of schedule in 2023

Tempering expectations - especially where Young is concerned - might be the best course of action until further notice. But a recent examination of Carolina's strength of schedule by John Breech of CBS Sports did nothing to dispel the notion of improved fortunes next time around.

"The one thing about strength of schedule is that there's no perfect way to measure schedule difficulty before the season kicks off. Thanks to injuries, free agency and trades, rosters are changing all the time and they will continue to change between now and the start of the season in September. That being said, strength of schedule does give you a good idea of what your favorite team will be facing in the upcoming season."

John Breech, CBS Sports

According to the writer, the Panthers sit No. 27 in the strength of schedule rankings. Their 2023 opponents accumulated a combined average winning percentage of .453, which is far lower than the No. 1 ranked Philadelphia Eagles (.566).

Even though this was encouraging, other NFC South teams can also take great heart from these rankings. The Atlanta Falcons sit dead last - meaning the easiest - swiftly followed by the New Orleans Saints at No. 31.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers - who won the NFC South last season almost by default - were placed at No. 22. Of course, they won't have legendary signal-caller Tom Brady to count on next season after he finally announced his retirement.

Much will depend on how Carolina's games are constructed throughout the campaign. Some winnable games early would be welcome, which might provide enough in the way of confidence to surprise a few as the season progresses.

The Panthers might also find themselves with a primetime game or two given the hype surrounding Young. These have been few and far between in recent years thanks to the team's woeful performance levels when Rhule called the shots.

Under Reich, the future looks far brighter. And if this strength of schedule proves accurate, then making a playoff return cannot be dismissed entirely.

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