Plenty of reunion games on Panthers’ 2021 schedule

Carolina opens its season with two games at home

Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey is expected to miss several weeks with a high ankle sprain. (Mark LoMoglio / AP Photo)

The Carolina Panthers will play their first 17-game regular season schedule in the 2021 season, and it includes plenty of reunion games. The Panthers open the year with a game against their new quarterback’s old team, then face their old quarterback and coach in a three-week November stretch.

The team gave the public its first look at the upcoming season’s slate of games as part of the NFL’s schedule release on Wednesday night.

The NFL will play an extra regular season game this year, scrapping one of the four preseason games.

The Panthers will have two home games in the preseason, opening the exhibition schedule at the Colts, then hosting the Ravens and Steelers. Dates and times have not been released for any of the preseason contests.

The Panthers have eight home games in the regular season, with nine on the road. Fourteen of the games will have traditional 1 p.m. Sunday starts. The team has one 4:05 p.m. Sunday game (Week 10, at Arizona), and the Week 15 game at Buffalo has not had a time or date announced.

Carolina has one prime time game on the current schedule — on Thursday Night football, Week 3 at Houston.

The Panthers open the year with back-to-back home games. The opener will give new quarterback Sam Darnold a chance to beat his old team, Sept. 12 against the Jets. The Panthers host the Saints the following week before heading to Houston for the Thursday night game.

October opens with another Texas trip, in Week 4 at Dallas. The Panthers then host back-to-back games against the Eagles and Vikings.

Carolina hits the road for the next two, Oct. 24 at the Giants and Halloween, at the Falcons.

Cam Newton and the Patriots return to Charlotte for Week 9, followed by the trip to Arizona.

The Panthers close their season series against the NFL East with Ron Rivera and Washington coming to Charlotte in Week 11 on Nov. 21. The Panthers then travel to Miami for Week 12.

Carolina has an extremely late bye, Week 13. The team hosts the Falcons on Dec. 12, then travels to Buffalo.

Three division games close the regular season. The Super Bowl champion Bucs come to town the day after Christmas. Carolina heads to New Orleans on Jan. 2, then closes the season on Jan. 9 in Tampa for its second game against the Bucs in three weeks.