Panthers’ game-by-game predictions after 2023 NFL Schedule release

There’s a ton of excitement and optimism surrounding the Carolina Panthers after the 2023 NFL schedule release. Despite still being in rebuild mode, the Panthers aggressively assembled a talent-rich draft class and have their sights set on making a big leap as they face the NFL’s sixth easiest schedule this upcoming season. Without further ado, here are the game-by-game predictions for the Panthers’ 2023 regular season.

Week 1 at Atlanta Falcons

Trying to contain the favorite for the Offensive Rookie of the Year in running back Bijan Robinson will be a daunting challenge. The Atlanta Falcons have also revamped their defense and feature a new-look secondary that could give Carolina’s new franchise quarterback Bryce Young fits as he makes his NFL debut. Prediction: Falcons 27, Panthers 20

Week 2 vs. New Orleans Saints (MNF)

It’s the home debut for Young and his first game in primetime. Facing another talented secondary with an inexperienced defensive line that lost three starters in free agency, look for a heavy serving of Miles Sanders and Chuba Hubbard on the ground as the Panthers right the ship back to .500. We don’t expect Alvin Kamara to be available for the New Orleans Saints in this game. Prediction: Panthers 16, Saints 13

Week 3 at Seattle Seahawks

The Panthers should have a similar strategy here against the Seattle Seahawks, who opted to try to recreate the Legion of Boom and give themselves an embarrassment of riches at wide receiver and running back instead of overhauling its front seven early on in the draft. Carolina used that blueprint to beat Seattle 30-24 on the road last December, ravaging the Seahawks’ atrocious run defense. History repeats itself here, as it often does in the NFL. Prediction: Panthers 26, Seahawks 24

Week 4 vs. Minnesota Vikings

These teams have met three times in the last six years, and each game has ended in a shootout. Led by Justin Jefferson, T.J. Hockenson, and Jordan Addison, who looks to lead this rookie WR class, the Vikings simply have too much firepower for the Panthers. And as we witnessed at an alarming rate last year, the Minnesota Vikings are battle-tested with these close games. Prediction: Vikings 34, Panthers 31

Week 5 at Detroit Lions

For the second straight week, one of Carolina’s leading receivers, D.J. Chark Jr., gets a shot at revenge against his former team. But similar to last week, the Detroit Lions bring too much firepower for the Panthers to contain. Prediction: Lions 30, Panthers 17

Week 6 at Miami Dolphins

The weather shouldn’t be too much of a factor here in mid-October, but the Panthers’ talented secondary will still definitely get put to the test in a track meet environment against Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle, and rookie Devon Achane, as well as the rest of quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s assortment of weapons. Prediction: Dolphins 28, Panthers 20

Week 7 Bye

Week 8 vs. Houston Texans

After an early bye week, which the Houston Texans share, the Panthers return home for what really should be a primetime game. In addition to featuring the top two overall picks from the 2023 NFL Draft—who have been close friends since the eighth grade—with all of the storylines that took center stage involving both prospects and both teams over the last few months, the Panthers and Texans have both been extremely aggressive this offseason and actually have a shot to win their respective talent-deficient divisions. In the end, Houston’s talent-rich secondary makes the difference in an overtime thriller between two up-and-coming teams. Prediction: Texans 34, Panthers 31

Week 9 vs. Indianapolis Colts

A much more polished quarterback, look for Young to outclass Anthony Richardson in the first meeting between the No. 1 and No. 4 overall picks. The Indianapolis Colts suspect secondary will have its hands full in this one. Prediction: Panthers 24, Colts 14

Week 10 at Chicago Bears (Thu)

Get your popcorn ready for this clash between draft trade partners, who both feel like they won their blockbuster trade from earlier this offseason. Four days after toppling Richardson, the Panthers will face a similar, yet more polished and proven quarterback in Justin Fields, and a familiar face in star wide receiver D.J. Moore. On the short week, Carolina pulls off the hard-fought win, but struggles to contain Moore in a revenge game. Prediction: Panthers 28, Bears 24

Week 11 vs. Dallas Cowboys

One of the toughest tests on the schedule, the Dallas Cowboys will be starting to heat up down the stretch, and they simply pose too many challenges with Micah Parsons and DeMarcus Lawrence feasting on an inexperienced, albeit talented Panthers offensive line. Prediction: Cowboys 27, Panthers 16

Week 12 at Tennessee Titans

The Panthers get back to their winning ways on the road against a Tennessee Titans team that’s facing several major challenges. There’s a very real chance this is Young’s third matchup with one of the rookie QBs taken after him, as Will Levis may get an opportunity to show what made him such a tantalizing prospect. But with minimal receiving options, the Panthers load the box and prevent Derrick Henry from destroying them to pick up the win. Prediction: Panthers 23, Titans 17

Week 13 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

This looms as a potential trap game against a struggling division rival that’s facing real questions at a few key positions and will likely have its hands full with a difficult early season schedule. Nevertheless, look for Ejiro Evero’s defense to wreak havoc against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers inexperienced patchwork offensive line. Prediction: Panthers 20, Bucs 13

Week 14 at New Orleans Saints

The Saints end the Panthers’ winning streak and split the season series as they start to hit their stride down the stretch in a close battle for the division crown. Having their offense back at full strength will be key for New Orleans in this one. Prediction: Saints 23, Panthers 21

Week 15 vs. Atlanta Falcons

After losing the first meeting in the season opener, the Panthers bounce back and split the season series, with a big game from rookie Jonathan Mingo, a sleeper candidate to lead the 2023 rookie wideout class in receiving yards. Prediction: Panthers 31, Falcons 21

Week 16 vs. Green Bay Packers

For the first time since September, the Panthers are back above .500 as they make a playoff push with another hard-fought win over Jordan Love and his extremely young batch of receivers. The Panthers’ veteran leadership and home-field advantage makes the difference in this battle between teams trying to claw their way into the NFC playoff picture. Prediction: Panthers 24, Packers 20

Week 17 at Jacksonville Jaguars

Their fifth and final non-conference matchup of the season, the Panthers will have their hands full with Trevor Lawrence, Travis Etienne, and the Jacksonville Jaguars talented receiving corps. Prediction: Jaguars 31, Panthers 21

Week 18 vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Still battling for the top spot in arguably the league’s weakest division, the Panthers claw their way to a winning record and clinch the NFC South with an ugly win and sweeping of Tampa Bay, who gets one step closer towards getting its own franchise quarterback in next year’s draft. Prediction: Panthers 19, Buccaneers 17

Final Record: 9-8

The post Panthers’ game-by-game predictions after 2023 NFL Schedule release appeared first on ClutchPoints.

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