Carolina Panthers 2020 schedule (all times ET)

Sept. 13 vs. Las Vegas Raiders, 1 p.m.

Sept. 20 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1 p.m.

Sept. 27 at Los Angeles Chargers, 4:05 p.m.

Oct. 4 vs. Arizona Cardinals, 1 p.m.

Oct. 11 at Atlanta Falcons, 1 p.m.

Oct. 18 vs. Chicago Bears, 1 p.m.

Oct. 25 at New Orleans Saints, 1 p.m.

Oct. 29 vs. Atlanta Falcons, 8:20 p.m. (FOX/NFL Network/Amazon)

Nov. 8 at Kansas City Chiefs, 1 p.m.

Nov. 15 vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1 p.m.

Nov. 22 vs. Detroit Lions, 1 p.m.

Nov. 29 at Minnesota Vikings, 1 p.m.

BYE

Dec. 13 vs. Denver Broncos, 1 p.m.

Week 15 at Green Bay Packers, TBD

Dec. 27 at Washington Redskins, 1 p.m.

Jan. 3 vs. New Orleans Saints, 1 p.m.

2019 record: 5-11

Last playoff appearance: 2017

PointsBet over-under for Panthers wins: 5.5

FLM projects: 5 wins

The turnaround in Carolina could be more expeditious than national pundits are projecting, but 2020 isn't going to bring a playoff aroma to the Panthers. Teddy Bridgewater helps stabilize an offense with an MVP candidate -- Christian McCaffrey -- front and center. First-year head coach Matt Rhule did everything possible to address his defense by investing each of the team's draft picks on that side of the ball. The Panthers still don't stack up from a talent and overall playmaking standpoint.

Upset watch: Close games could be the calling card of this team. They rank 18th in strength of schedule. We like their chances to tip the Chicago Bears because of what appears to be an offense without star power, but within the division, the New Orleans Saints are at risk in this matchup. Carolina typically keeps it close against New Orleans and fell just shy -- 34-31 -- of the upset last November.

Longshot wager: McCaffrey is +4500 to win the NFL MVP award, and we get that he won't likely win if the Panthers aren't putting up Ws. But consider he will be in the running if he gets near 2,750 total yards and 25 touchdowns on a mediocre team. He posted 2,392-19 last season.

--Field Level Media

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