If the Carolina Panthers didn’t have to play the Saints this season they would probably be waiting to host a Divisional Round game. But the Panthers did play New Orleans three times and lost them all for exactly half of their loss total this season. The last one, a 31-26 defeat on Sunday, knocked Carolina out of the postseason tournament.
The Panthers’ defense was pretty good this season and they allowed more than 30 points in a game just three times, all to the Saints. And after failing to stop Drew Brees and the Saints offense this season, coordinator Steve Wilks could be off to a head coaching gig elsewhere. That’s just the start of what is sure to be a whirlwind offseason for the franchise. Not necessarily on the field as plenty remains. Ron Rivera is bracing for the loss of Wilks and said he has some candidates in-house to become the team’s third defensive coordinator in three seasons. The team is now in the market for an offensive coordinator after Mike Shula was fired unexpectedly.
But the biggest change is coming at the top after owner Jerry Richardson decided he’s going to sell the club after allegations of workplace misconduct. The team doesn’t have a permanent GM either, but Marty Hurney is in place to help the transition. One thing the club doesn’t have to worry about is Ron Rivera, who was penned to a two-year extension. In his seven seasons with the club, Rivera has a record of 64-47-1 with four playoff appearances in the last five years and three NFC South titles.
Week 1: Carolina at 49ers, Sunday, Sept. 10, 4:25 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 2: Carolina vs. Bills, Sunday, Sept. 17, 1 p.m. ET – CBS
Week 3: Carolina vs. Saints, Sunday, Sept. 24, 1 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 4: Carolina at Patriots, Sunday, Oct. 1, 1 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 5: Carolina at Lions, Sunday, Oct. 8, 1 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 6: Carolina vs. Eagles, Thursday, Oct. 12, 8:25 p.m. ET – CBS/NFL Network
Week 7: Carolina at Bears, Sunday, Oct. 22, 1 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 8: Carolina at Buccaneers, Sunday, Oct. 29,1 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 9: Carolina vs. Falcons, Sunday Nov. 5, 1 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 10: Carolina vs. Dolphins, Monday, Nov. 13, 8:30 p.m. ET – ESPN
Week 11: Bye Week
Week 12: Carolina at Jets, Sunday, Nov. 26, 1 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 13: Carolina at Saints, Sunday, Dec. 3, 1 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 14: Carolina vs. Vikings, Sunday, Dec. 10, 1 p.m. ET – CBS
Week 15: Carolina vs. Packers, Sunday, Dec. 17, 1 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 16: Carolina vs. Buccaneers, Sunday, Dec. 24, 1 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 17: Carolina at Falcons, Sunday, Dec. 31, 1 p.m. ET – FOX
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