CHARLOTTE – When the Falcons lost the early game to the Buccaneers Sunday, assuring Atlanta last place in the NFC South, the Panthers could pencil in some plans for 2021.
By finishing in third place in the division, the Panthers now know who they'll play in next year's schedule rotation.
While 14 of those games were known going into the season, three other games hinged on the results of the season (including a 17th game that is widely expected to be added sometime this offseason).
The Panthers will host the third-place team in the NFC North, meaning the Vikings will come to Charlotte. Carolina will also visit the third-place team in the NFC West, which equals a trip to Arizona.
In addition to the home and road games with the Falcons, Saints, and Buccaneers, the Panthers had locked in 10 other opponents for the coming year.
This is the NFC South's year to play the NFC East and AFC East as part of the existing schedule rotations.
The Panthers will have home games against Philadelphia, Washington, New England, and the New York Jets.
They'll play Dallas, the New York Giants, Buffalo, and Miami on the road.
The Panthers are 14-14 against the AFC East all-time, and just 20-30 against the NFC East (this would have definitely been the year to be playing the NFC East).
The 17th game, yet to gain final approval from the league, is expected to be against the similarly placed team from the AFC South. That would mean a game against the Houston Texans.