Panthers release 2014 schedule


CHARLOTTE – The Carolina Panthers are ready for primetime.

The Panthers, coming off a 12-4 season and an NFC South division championship, will host two primetime games for the first time since 1997 and are slated to appear in each of the NFL's three primetime slots.

Carolina's regular season schedule, which includes a stretch of five consecutive games against 2013 playoff participants beginning in Week 6, kicks off Sept. 7 at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

"Once again we knew it was going to be a challenging schedule regardless of the order of the games," head coach Ron Rivera said. "It is important that we be ready because we are playing two teams with new head coaches to start the season, and preparing for the uncertainties of a new staff can be difficult."

After opening at Tampa and first-year head coach Lovie Smith, the Panthers open their home slate Sept. 14 against the Detroit Lions and first-year head coach Jim Caldwell. Carolina then hosts its first primetime tilt of the season, welcoming the Pittsburgh Steelers to Bank of America Stadium for Sunday Night Football on NBC.

After traveling to Baltimore and hosting Chicago, the Panthers face five consecutive 2013 playoff teams beginning with a trip to the Cincinnati Bengals. They then visit the Green Bay Packers and host the reigning Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks before the stretch ends with back-to-back primetime games. Carolina hosts the New Orleans Saints in Week 9 on Thursday Night Football before travelling to Philadelphia in Week 10 for Monday Night Football.

Following the bye week in Week 12 – the latest bye week in team history - the final four weeks of the regular season feature three games against NFC South rivals.

Fri. Aug. 8
vs. Buffalo Bills
Bank of America Stadium 7:30 p.m. Panthers TV
Sun. Aug. 17 vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Bank of America Stadium
8:00 p.m. FOX
Fri. Aug. 22 at New England Patriots
Gillette Stadium
7:30 p.m. Panthers TV
Thu. Aug. 28 at Pittsburgh Steelers Heinz Field
7:30 p.m. Panthers TV
Sun. Sept. 7
at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Raymond James Stadium 4:25 p.m. FOX
Sun. Sept. 14 vs. Detroit Lions
Bank of America Stadium 1:00 p.m. FOX
Sun. Sept. 21 vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Bank of America Stadium 8:30 p.m. NBC
Sun. Sept. 28 at Baltimore Ravens M&T Bank Stadium 1:00 p.m. CBS
Sun. Oct. 5
vs. Chicago Bears
Bank of America Stadium 1:00 p.m. FOX
Sun. Oct. 12 at Cincinnati Bengals
Paul Brown Stadium
1:00 p.m. * FOX
Sun. Oct. 19
at Green Bay Packers
Lambeau Field
1:00 p.m. * FOX
Sun. Oct. 26 vs. Seattle Seahawks Bank of America Stadium 1:00 p.m. * FOX
Thur. Oct. 30
vs. New Orleans Saints
Bank of America Stadium 8:25 p.m. NFLN
Mon. Nov. 10 at Philadelphia Eagles Lincoln Financial Field
8:30 p.m. ESPN
Sun. Nov. 16 vs. Atlanta Falcons
Bank of America Stadium 1:00 p.m. * FOX
Sun. Nov. 23 BYE
Sun. Nov. 30
at Minnesota Vikings TCF Bank Stadium
1:00 p.m. * FOX
Sun. Dec. 7
at New Orleans Saints Mercedes-Benz Superdome 1:00 p.m. * FOX
Sun. Dec. 14 vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Bank of America Stadium 1:00 p.m. * FOX
Sun. Dec. 21 vs. Cleveland Browns
Bank of America Stadium 1:00 p.m. * CBS
Sun. Dec. 28 at Atlanta Falcons Georgia Dome 1:00 p.m. * FOX
* - Subject to flexible scheduling.*

The Panthers could end up making more than three primetime appearances with the NFL extending flexible scheduling in 2014. Typically reserved for Weeks 11-17, flex scheduling can begin as early as Week 5 this season, though it can't be applied more than twice through Week 10.

Flex scheduling allows Sunday afternoon games to be moved to Sunday night, in which case the original Sunday night game would move to an afternoon start time. Sunday games can also be moved from a 1 p.m. start to a kickoff time in the four o'clock hour, and vice versa.

Flex scheduling will not affect games airing on Thursday, Saturday or Monday nights. A flex scheduling move would be announced at least 12 days before the game. For Week 17, the Sunday night game will be announced no later than six days prior to December 28.

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