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2012 schedule nearly set

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After clinching third place in the NFC South by virtue of their 48-16 blowout of Tampa Bay, the Panthers' 2012 schedule is pretty well set.

Besides divisional games, the NFC South will be paired with the NFC East and AFC West next season. The Panthers also will face the third-place teams from the NFC North (Chicago) and NFC West (the loser of Sunday's Arizona-Seattle game).

Here's how it breaks down:

Home games: Atlanta, New Orleans, Tampa Bay, Dallas, New York Giants, Arizona/Seattle loser, San Diego, Kansas City.

Away games: Atlanta, New Orleans, Tampa Bay, Philadelphia, Washington, Chicago, Oakland, Denver.

(The NFL modified its formula for West Coast travel, beginning with the 2010 season, so teams wouldn't have to make two trips to the West Coast. The league paired Oakland with Denver, and San Diego with Kansas City, for teams facing the AFC West. The Panthers' AFC West destinations for next season were based on this year's schedule for NFC North teams, which played the AFC West.)

A couple of observations:

The Chicago trip will mark the third time the Panthers have faced DE Julius Peppers since Peppers left Carolina as a free agent. Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott will get a chance to play his hometown Philadelphia Eagles and exact a little revenge on Andy Reid, who fired McDermott last offseason.

Cam Newton will go head-to-head with The Golden Calf of Bristol, his former teammate at Florida, and the Eagles' Michael Vick, whom Newton admired growing up in Atlanta when Vick played for the Falcons.

And of course, the Panthers will match up against former coach John Fox for the first time.

The full schedule will be released later. Given Newton's success and popularity – and the innovative nature of the Panthers' offense – expect to see a couple of prime-time, Sunday and Monday night games.


I'm tired of playing Arizona and Chicago.

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get ready for a 11-5 or 12-4 record carolina!

i see use making the playoffs babbyyy!

its nice to be in the Carolina. been a long and tough couple years for us.

Now it's our turn to get back to the top.

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Dang it I thought KC was gonna be away. We were planning on going to that game on a trip, I swore I read it was gonna be away. Guess we'll be going to Denver.

Yeah I was really hoping for the KC game too, but Denver is close enough. Plus watching Cam vs The Golden Calf of Bristol looks like it will be more fun than Orton/Cassel/Palklol.

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I'm going to that Denver game! Fug The Golden Calf of Bristol! ( if he's even still playing there by then, or any where in the NFL )

If the game is late in the season, there is a strong possibility that The Golden Calf of Bristol wont be the starting QB. Defenses have already started to shut down their option attack, and I don't see him developing into a pocket passer in one offseason.

Side Note: Not a The Golden Calf of Bristol hater. Just hate the hype around him.

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