The Panthers' list of opponents for the 2016 season has been completed based on the final regular season standings for 2015.
In addition to home and away games against NFC South foes Atlanta, New Orleans and Tampa Bay, Carolina will play all four teams from both the NFC West and the AFC West. The Panthers' remaining two intra-conference opponents are based on the 2015 standings. Carolina will host Minnesota and play at Washington after all three teams finished first in their respective divisions.
Dates and times will be announced by the NFL in the spring. After that, an on-sale date for single-game tickets to Panthers home games for the 2016 season will be determined.
The NFL season will kick off Thursday, September 8, and the regular season will conclude Sunday, January 1, 2017.
|Atlanta Falcons (8-8)||Atlanta Falcons (8-8)|
|New Orleans Saints (7-9)||New Orleans Saints (7-9)|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-10)||Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-10)|
|Arizona Cardinals (13-3)||Seattle Seahawks (10-6)|
|San Francisco 49ers (5-11)||St. Louis Rams (7-9)|
|Kansas City Chiefs (11-5)||Denver Broncos (12-4)|
|San Diego Chargers (4-12)||Oakland Raiders (7-9)|
|Minnesota Vikings (11-5)||Washington Redskins (9-7)|
A few notes on Carolina's 2016 opponents:
• The Panthers will face six teams that qualified for the playoffs and will play 12 of their 16 games against teams that went 7-9 or better.
• The combined record of the opponents for Carolina's 16 games is 113-143, a .441 winning percentage that matches the New York Jets for the lowest in the NFL. Carolina's schedule would be more difficult than anyone else in the NFC South if not for the fact that the Panthers' 15-1 record means they contribute 30 victories versus two losses to the strength of schedule for Atlanta, New Orleans and Tampa Bay. • The Panthers are 17-11 versus the NFC West since division realignment in 2002, highlighted by a 7-3 mark against the Cardinals.
• The Panthers are set to face the Seahawks in the regular season for the fifth consecutive year after facing them just three times in the franchise's first 15 seasons. Including two playoff meetings, Carolina is 2-7 against Seattle since realignment but won the teams' latest meeting in October and could face the Seahawks again in this year's NFC Divisional Playoff.
• The Panthers are 7-5 against the AFC West since division realignment in 2002.
• Carolina will visit Denver for the first time since 2004 and will host San Diego for the first time since 2004. Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers has never thrown a pass at Bank of America Stadium in 12 NFL seasons, while fourth-year Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson - who like Rivers played at N.C. State - has already started three games in Charlotte and could start a fourth later this month.
• The Panthers are slated to fly across the country for games in Seattle, Oakland and Denver and could add a fourth West Coast trip if the St. Louis Rams are relocated to Los Angeles. The Rams and the Raiders (as well as the Chargers) have submitted applications to the league to be considered for relocation to L.A. beginning next season.
The NFL's scheduling formula implemented in 2002 with realignment guarantees that all teams play each other on a regular, rotating basis. Under the formula, every team within a division plays 16 games as follows:
• Home and away games against its three division opponents (six games).
• The four teams from another division within its conference on a rotating three-year cycle (four games).
• The four teams from a division in the other conference on a rotating four-year cycle (four games).
• Two intraconference teams based on the prior year's standings (two games).