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Carolina Panthers Will Have 12th Toughest Schedule in 2016

The Carolina Panthers hope to earn their second consecutive trip to the Super Bowl next season but they will have to go through the 12th toughest schedule in the league to reach the big game.

The road to Super Bowl 50 may be a little tougher for the Carolina Panthers as they will have the 12th toughest schedule in the NFL next year based on opponents' records in 2015, according to CBS Sports' John Beech. The Panthers' opponents finished 2015 with a collective record of 131-125 or .512 winning percentage.

While the schedule isn't set, the opponents are and the Panthers' will be facing six teams that made the playoffs this past season. That group includes home games against the Kansas City Chiefs and Minnesota Vikings as well as a rematch of the NFC Conference Championship Game against the Arizona Cardinals.

The team will also face three playoff teams on the road including a return trip to Seattle to take on the Seahawks, as well as a trip to Washington to face the Redskins. The one game that will probably be the first circled when the official schedule does come out will be a rematch with their Super Bowl opponent, the Denver Broncos.

As Beech notes in his article, the Panthers entered last year with the sixth easiest schedule and finished the year actually having the easiest schedule based on opponents' records. The Panthers took advantage of this, finishing with a 15-1 record and a number one seed in the NFC en route to Super Bowl 50.

While who you play is important, how the schedule is set up is equally as important. The Panthers will have three trips to the west coast (Seattle, Los Angeles, and Oakland) and one more to the Mountain Time Zone when they face Denver. These long trips could have an impact on the team depending on how they are positioned in the schedule.

Twitter @BrandonCroce.

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