On paper that looks like a brutal stretch, but let's look at who these teams play the week before they play the Panthers....
@Seahawks - Seahawks play on the road against the Bengals. These two teams have not played each other since 2011 before Russell Wilson came to town. Bengals won in 2011 34-12. Panthers haven't beat the Seahawks since 2007, and historically the Seahawks have straight up owned the Panthers. The Panthers have a lot of loses to avenge.
vs. Eagles - Eagles play at home vs. the Giants on Monday night, then come to Carolina on a short week to play a Sunday night game against the Panthers. Those two teams tend to beat up on each other so Carolina could be catching a wounded Eagles team on the road. Another revenge game after the trashing laid down at the hands of Mark Sanchez on Monday night.
vs. Colts - The Colts always have a cupcake schedule playing in the AFC South. They have a home game against the Saints a week before they come to Carolina on Monday night. The only playoff team from 2014 they play before coming to Carolina is the Patriots two weeks before, and they get them at home. The Colts should be fresh and have an inflated win total before this game,
vs. Packers - Panthers catch a break and catch the Packers on consecutive road trips. The Packers are @ Denver the week before heading to Carolina. Another revenge game opportunity against a team that thrashed the Panthers last year.
All in all I don't think this stretch is as difficult as the brutal stretch the Panthers had in 2014 which nearly sunk the team if it weren't for the awful play of their division counterparts.
Although Cutler will top the offseason depth chart by dint of his experience edge, Fox made it clear Wednesday that the Bears will have an "open competition" at quarterback.
"Obviously you've got to start somewhere," Fox said, via CSN Chicago, "and my experience in football, really in anything, it's not where you start a competition; it's where you finish it."
If Fox is to be taken at his word, Cutler won't be under center in Week 1 if he's outplayed by Clausen and/or a rookie quarterback in August.
Imagine the story line if Clausen wins the starting job in Chicago, Fox turns the defense around and they sneak into the playoffs. Obviously this isn't going to happen but I thought it was funny that Clausen is seriously up for consideration as Bears starting QB, under John Fox no less.