Five Takeaways: Analysis of Carolina's 2019 schedule

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1. Juicy season opener

If you were hoping for some sizzle in the season-opening matchup, you got your wish. Ditto if you were hoping the Panthers were going to open up their 25th season at home.

The reigning NFC champion Los Angeles Rams will travel across the country to Charlotte for Week 1 at Bank of America Stadium. It's the first time during head coach Ron Rivera's tenure that the Panthers are opening up at home in consecutive years (the last time was 2005-06). Carolina defeated the Cowboys in Charlotte to open the 2018 season.

The Panthers have won five straight home openers under Rivera, and this one will be a huge test against a loaded Rams team looking to bounce back from a deflating Super Bowl defeat.

2. Lack of primetime

The Panthers host the Buccaneers for Thursday Night Football in Week 2. That's the only primetime contest on the schedule, although the London game against Tampa Bay in Week 6 is also nationally televised.

Of course, there could prove to be more primetime dates due to flex scheduling later in the season. From Week 9 on, the Panthers are currently scheduled to play every game at 1 p.m. ET.

3. Nice time for a break

As expected, the Panthers' bye comes in Week 7 – after the team's trip to London to face the Buccaneers. It's an ideal time for a week off with the Panthers flying across the country to San Francisco for their second-longest trip in Week 8.

Carolina has won its game immediately following the bye week each of the last four seasons.

4. Tough slate down the stretch

The last three weeks of the regular season feature these three contests: versus Seattle, at Indianapolis, versus New Orleans. All three opponents qualified for the postseason in 2018.

Games against the Seahawks have always been physical, hard-fought battles. The Colts are a team on the rise with quarterback Andrew Luck healthy again. And we all know about Carolina's recent struggles against the Saints, last year's finale in the Superdome aside. But hey, the Panthers get to close the regular season at home for a change!

Also of note, this is the 10th time the Panthers are playing New Orleans in the finale, most against any team.

5. It's been awhile

The AFC South hasn't been on Carolina's schedule since 2015. The road trips within that division are flipped this time around, with the Panthers travelling to Houston and Indianapolis. The Panthers haven't played in either city since 2011 – Cam Newton's rookie year – and they won both games.

Both outings produced memorable images, with Newton exchanging words with injured Colts quarterback Peyton Manning postgame and with Richie Brockel finding the end zone on the memorable "Annexation of Puerto Rico" play against the Texans.

As for hosting the Jaguars, who could forget the rain game against Jacksonville in 2011? Those incredible images don't even do it justice. And the Titans? They are the only team Carolina has not yet beaten at home (0-2).

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