CHARLOTTE — The Carolina Panthers announced the team’s 2020 season schedule Thursday night.
The 2020 schedule is highlighted by games against four playoff teams, including a Week 9 matchup at the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs (Nov. 8).
Panthers coach Matt Rhule makes his NFL head coaching debut at Bank of America Stadium in Week 1 against the Las Vegas Raiders (Sept. 13) before hitting the road in Week 2 to face off against the NFC South division opponent Tampa Bay Buccaneers and new quarterback Tom Brady (Sept. 20). The Panthers close out September against the Los Angeles Chargers (Sept. 27) in one of the NFL’s newest venues, SoFi Stadium.
The Panthers play five games in October, beginning with a matchup against the Arizona Cardinals (Oct. 4). The Panthers travel to Atlanta for a Week 5 (Oct. 11) matchup at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the first of two games against the Falcons in a four-week span. The Panthers and Falcons meet again during Week 8 with a Thursday night matchup in Charlotte (Oct. 29). Between those games are home contests against the Chicago Bears (Oct. 18) and a divisional matchup at the New Orleans Saints (Oct. 25).
The Panthers take on the Chiefs in Week 9 (Nov. 8) as Carolina will play at Kansas City for just the fourth time in team history. The Panthers only win at Arrowhead Stadium came back in 2004. The Panthers follow the game against the Chiefs with three consecutive NFC matchups as the Buccaneers (Nov. 15) and Detroit Lions (Nov. 22) come to Charlotte before the Panthers visit the Minnesota Vikings (Nov. 29) to close out the month. The Panthers host the Lions for the first time since 2014 and for just the third time since 2003.
Carolina gets a late-season bye in Week 13 before returning to finish the season out with four games. The Panthers host the Denver Broncos (Dec. 13) for just the third time in franchise history before back-to-back road games at Green Bay (Dec. 19 or 20) and Washington (Dec. 27). Washington is coached by former Panthers head coach Ron Rivera, who spent nine years leading the Panthers from 2011-19.
Carolina’s Week 15 game at Green Bay will be played on either Saturday, Dec. 19 or Sunday, Dec. 20. As part of the NFL’s flexible scheduling rules, in Weeks 15 and 16, up to three of five designated matchups will be played on Saturday with the remainder to be played on Sunday. Specific dates and start times for such designated Week 15 and Week 16 matchups will be determined and announced no later than four weeks prior to game day.
Carolina will finish the 2020 regular season at home against New Orleans (Jan. 3). This marks the 11th time the Panthers have closed the regular season against New Orleans, the most of any opponent.
In addition, Carolina will face Jacksonville, New England, Baltimore and Pittsburgh during the 2020 preseason.
The Panthers open the preseason with a home game against Jacksonville (Aug. 13-17) before back-to-back road games at New England (Aug. 20-24) and Baltimore (Aug. 30). The game against Baltimore will be nationally televised on NBC. Carolina will conclude the preseason at home against Pittsburgh (Sept. 3). The Panthers take on the Steelers in the preseason finale for the 18th consecutive season, dating back to 2003. A complete preseason schedule with more specific dates and times will be released later.
The NFL is preparing to play the 2020 season as scheduled with increased protocols and safety measures for all players, personnel and fans. The NFL and its clubs will be prepared to adjust and will continue to make decisions based on the advice of medical professionals and public health officials, as well as in full compliance with current and future government regulations.
If a Panthers game is canceled and cannot be replayed, or is played under a condition that prevents fans from attending, automatic refunds for the full amount of the voided tickets will be provided by the NFL’s licensed primary channels and most secondary channels within 30 days of the decision. More information on the single-game ticket refund policy is available at Panthers.com/Tickets.
PSL Owners will automatically receive an account credit for the full ticket amount of the impacted game or be given the option to receive a refund within 30 days of the canceled event by contacting the Panthers’ ticket office directly. If necessary, further details outlining the cancellation policy will be made available at the appropriate time.
The NFL’s ability to play a full season and one that begins on time will be predicated on the availability of the coronavirus testing nationwide.
The league has said very little publicly about contingency plans for the 2020 season.
On Tuesday, Commissioner Roger Goodell sent a memo confirming ticket policies with all 32 teams.
According to the memo, fans who purchase tickets directly from the team will be offered full refunds or credits for games canceled or played with fan restrictions.
Goodell sent another memo Wednesday to teams outlining protocols for reopening team facilities as local restrictions are lifted.
Teams have been told to have those protocols in place by May 15.
The Panthers used all seven of their 2020 NFL draft picks to build up its defense.
Carolina selected defensive tackle Derrick Brown from Auburn in the first round and Penn State defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos and Southern Illinois safety Jeremy Chinn in the second. The team lost nine defensive starters from the 2019 season, including five-time All-Pro linebacker Luke Kuechly.
The offense has a new look, as well.
Cam Newton, a nine-year Panthers veteran, was replaced by former New Orleans Saint QB Teddy Bridgewater.
“Mr. Reliable,” Greg Olsen, ended his Panthers career after nine years, too. Olsen ranks fifth among tight ends in receptions and yards receiving.
The Panthers will be moving its headquarters to York County after the council approved an incentives package last month.
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