Charlotte, N.C.--Three nationally-televised games and six contests against playoff teams from a year ago highlight the Carolina Panthers 2014 schedule announced Wednesday by the National Football League.
Two of the three nationally televised games are from renovated Bank of America Stadium with an NBC Sunday night contest against the Pittsburgh Steelers on September 21, and a Thursday night matchup against NFC South Division rival New Orleans on NFL Network on October 30. The Panthers other nationally-televised contest is at Philadelphia on ESPN Monday Night Football on November 10.
The games against playoff opponents from a year ago come at Cincinnati (October 12), at Green Bay (October 19), at home against the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks (October 26), versus New Orleans (October 30), at Philadelphia (November 10) on five consecutive weeks before a rematch against the Saints at New Orleans on December 7.
The Panthers contest against the Seahawks marks the third consecutive year Carolina has hosted Seattle. Carolina also plays the NFC North Minnesota Vikings for the third time in four years.
"Once again we knew it was going to be a challenging schedule regardless of the order of the games," said Carolina Head Coach Ron Rivera. "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."
For the second time in three years, the Panthers will open the season at Tampa Bay against a new head coach and will close the schedule at Atlanta for the second consecutive season. In 2012, Carolina lost the season opener at Tampa Bay, which was debuting under Greg Schiano, and now plays the Bucs in their first game under Lovie Smith.
The Panthers enter the season as defending NFC South champions after compiling a 12-4 mark a year ago before losing to the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Divisional playoffs.
NFL FLEXIBLE SCHEDULING
For the first time, flexible scheduling may be applied by the NFL in Weeks 5-10. During that period, flexible scheduling can be used in no more than two weeks by shifting a Sunday afternoon game into primetime and moving the Sunday night game to an afternoon start time.
"Flexible scheduling" will be used in Weeks 11-17 as it has been in recent years. Only Sunday afternoon games are eligible to be moved to Sunday night, in which case the tentatively scheduled Sunday night game would be moved to an afternoon start time. Flexible scheduling will not be applied to games airing on Thursday, Saturday or Monday nights. A flexible 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.
Friday July 25 FAN FEST 6:30 @ BANK OF AMERICA STADIUM
Friday Aug 8 BUFFALO BILLS 7:30 pm Panthers TV
Sunday Aug 17 KANSAS CITY CHIEFS 8:00 pm FOX
Friday Aug 22 @ New England Patriots 7:30 pm Panthers TV
Thursday Aug 28 @ Pittsburgh Steelers 7:30 pm Panthers TV
Sunday Sept 7 @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers 4:25 pm FOX
Sunday Sept 14DETROIT LIONS1:00 pm FOX
Sunday Sept 21PITTSBURGH STEELERS8:30 pm NBC
Sunday Sept 28 @ Baltimore Ravens 1:00 pm CBS
Sunday Oct 5 CHICAGO BEARS 1:00 pm* FOX
Sunday Oct 12 @ Cincinnati Bengals 1:00 pm* FOX
Sunday Oct 19 @ Green Bay Packers 1:00 pm* FOX
Sunday Oct 26 SEATTLE SEAHAWKS 1:00 pm* FOX
Thursday Oct 30 NEW ORLEANS SAINTS 8:25 pm NFLN
Monday Nov 10 @ Philadelphia Eagles 8:30 pm ESPN
Sunday Nov 16 ATLANTA FALCONS1:00* pm FOX
Sunday Nov 23 BYE
Sunday Nov 30 @ Minnesota Vikings 1:00*pm FOX
Sunday Dec 7 @ New Orleans Saints 1:00*pm FOX
Sunday Dec 14TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS1:00*pm FOX
Sunday Dec 21CLEVELAND BROWNS 1:00* pm CBS
Sunday Dec 28 @ Atlanta Falcons 1:00*pm FOX
ALL TIMES ARE EASTERN STANDARD TIME CAPS = HOME GAMES
*FLEX SCHEDULING – POTENTIAL FOR TIME CHANGE