Every team in the NFL already knows who they will be facing during the 2022 season, just not the specific dates and start times. That will be revealed at 8 p.m. ET on NFL Network on May 12. The Carolina Panthers have surely already circled a couple of daunting matchups on their schedule.
The Panthers will look to rebound from a disappointing 2021 season and get back into the mix for an NFC South title this fall. Finishing with a winning record is going to be no easy task for head coach Matt Rhule, so let's take a look at the three hardest matchups Carolina will have in 2022.
Carolina Panthers 2022 Schedule
1. @ Los Angeles Rams
Looking at the schedule and seeing a road game against the defending Super Bowl champions is exactly the kind of thing Panthers fans and players wanted to avoid. The Rams looked unstoppable in the playoffs and played their best football when the clock was nearing zero in the fourth quarter. The craziest part of their run to the top may have been the fact that it was only quarterback Matthew Stafford's first season with the team. Another full offseason to prepare by watching tape and coming up with new plays should allow him to thrive once again. Carolina can usually get by leaning on Christian McCaffrey to carry the load, but the Rams posted the fifth-best rush defense DVOA rating in 2021.
2. @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tom Brady landing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers two years ago has been a nightmare for the Panthers. He is 4-0 against Carolina since that point and Tampa Bay has won each game by at least two touchdowns. Meanwhile, Sam Darnold has completed just 59.5% of his pass attempts for 409 yards, 2 touchdowns and 1 interceptions across two career games against the Buccaneers. Brady looks poised to wreak havoc in the NFC South coming off a playoff loss to the Los Angeles Rams in 2021. His motivation is at an all-time high, which will make beating him on his home turf even more difficult.
3. @ New Orleans Saints
There's a good chance the Saints are going to be in the race for a Wild Card spot in 2022 after finishing just shy of securing one last year (9-8 record). That is not good news for a Panthers team that just cannot seem to be their divisional rival lately. Carolina is 1-5 straight up in its last six games against New Orleans and those five losses have been by an average of 14.4 points. The only upside here is that the Panthers were able to force quarterback Jameis Winston to throw 2 interceptions during their Week 2 matchup last September. They'll have to hope they can play with the same intensity this time around.
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