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Panthers Announce 2012 Schedule – Open at Tampa vs Bucs

Cam Newton has helped earn the Carolina Panthers two national television appearances in the 2012 season.

The Panthers host the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants in a Thursday night game on Sept. 20 on the NFL Network and play at Philadelphia on ESPN Monday Night Football on Nov. 26. The contest against the Giants will be the Panthers first nationally televised contest since hosting Miami in 2009. Carolina hasn’t played on Monday night since visiting Dallas in 2009.

The Panthers open the season on the road for the third straight season, facing Tampa Bay on Sept. 9 before returning home Sept. 16 to host New Orleans in the home opener.

One of the most intriguing games will be Nov. 11 when coach John Fox returns to Charlotte along with Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos in a 1 p.m. game.

Fox spent nine seasons with the Panthers before leaving after the season 2011 season.

“We had a strong finish last year and hope to maintain that momentum for the 2012 season,” Panthers second-year head coach Ron Rivera said. “We play in one of the best divisions in the NFL and play all three division teams plus the New York Giants in the first four games. It’s going to be a challenge, but one that excites us.”

Carolina finished just 6-10 last season but made major strides offensively behind Newton, The Associated Press Rookie of the Year.

The Panthers closed the 2011 season by winning four of their last six games and jumped 25 positions in total offense, finishing seventh after being last the previous year.

Carolina also tied for fifth in scoring last season.

The Panthers four-game win improvement on the field was reflected in the television ratings with a 25 percent increase in viewership throughout the Carolinas.

The Panthers are hoping for a strong start at home where they have four of their first six against New Orleans (Sept. 16), the Giants (Sept. 20), Seattle (Oct. 7) and Dallas (Oct. 21). The Cowboys game follows the Panthers bye week Oct. 14.

The Panthers close the season at New Orleans for the second straight year.

The season should be a reunion of sorts for Rivera, who will return to all of his previous NFL coaching stops as the Panthers face Chicago, Philadelphia, and San Diego on the road.

PRESEASON:

Sat. Aug. 11 HOUSTON TEXANS, 7 p.m.

Fri. Aug. 17 MIAMI DOLPHINS, 8 p.m.

Sun. Aug. 26 at New York Jets, 8 p.m.

Thurs. Aug. 30 at Pittsburgh Steelers, 7:30 p.m.

REGULAR SEASON:

Sun. Sept. 9 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 4:15 p.m.

Sun. Sept. 16 NEW ORLEANS SAINTS, 1 p.m.

Thurs. Sept. 20 NEW YORK GIANTS, 8:20 p.m.

Sun. Sept. 30 at Atlanta Falcons, 1 p.m.

Sun. Oct. 7 SEATTLE SEAHAWKS, 4:15 p.m.

Sun. Oct. 14 BYE

Sun. Oct. 21 DALLAS COWBOYS, 1 p.m.

Sun. Oct. 28 at Chicago Bears, 1 p.m.

Sun. Nov. 4 at Washington Redskins, 1 p.m.

Sun. Nov. 11 DENVER BRONCOS, 1 p.m.

Sun. Nov. 18 TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS, 1 p.m.

Mon. Nov. 26 at Philadelphia Eagles, 8 p.m.

Sun. Dec. 2 at Kansas City Chiefs, 1 p.m.

Sun. Dec. 9 ATLANTA FALCONS, 1 p.m.

Sun. Dec 16 at San Diego Chargers, 4:05 p.m.

Sun. Dec 23 OAKLAND RAIDERS, 1 p.m.

Sun. Dec 30 at New Orleans Saints, 1 p.m.


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