I have gotten a kick out of the folks I've heard complaining that the Carolina Panthers' 2011 schedule (if it is ever played) looks hard.
Of course it looks hard! The Panthers went 2-14 in 2010! They were the worst team in the NFL!
So unless the Panthers somehow had gotten an exception and had gotten to schedule a few college teams (too bad the Charlotte 49ers don't start until 2013), this was going to be a difficult schedule, because everyone was better than the Panthers.
That said, I think it could have been worse. The Panthers actually will have a chance in Week 1 (at Arizona) to start 1-0 under new coach Ron Rivera. Then they've got a couple of home games in a row (Green Bay and Jacksonville). So if they just have one good week out of three, they at least might be able to start 1-2 before an admittedly brutal October kicks in.
And hey, if it all goes south, at least they're home for Christmas (Tampa, Dec.24th) and in New Orleans for New Year's Eve (the season finale is Jan.1 at New Orleans).
10 months ago