3 Games Panthers Must Win At All Costs on 2024 Schedule

Adam Thielen and the Panthers hope to improve on a 2-15 campaign in 2023
Adam Thielen and the Panthers hope to improve on a 2-15 campaign in 2023 / Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
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The Panthers hope to improve on a woeful 2-15 season but have the unfortunate honor of being underdogs in every single game on the 2024-25 schedule. Carolina should be a better team, though oddsmakers still think wins will be hard to come by.

As a result, it's critical that Dave Canales' group takes advantage of winnable games when they have the chance. They start the year on the road against the Saints, but expectations should be that Carolina wins at least five or six games.

You want to feel good about the progress your franchise is making. With that in mind, let's look at three games the Panthers have to win at all cost in the upcoming season.

3 Games Panthers Must Win At All Costs

1. Week 3 @ Las Vegas Raiders - Sept. 22

The Raiders have some continuity with new head coach Antonio Pierce winning the job after serving as interim coach. Even still, this is a team whose starting QB will either be Gardner Minshew or Aiden O'Connell. If the Panthers are serious about improving the record, this is a must-win contest.

They face the Saints then Chargers before this Week 3 matchup. The Panthers have the Bengals, Bears, and Falcons after the Raiders. If they don't win, they could be staring at an 0-6 start. Considering the improvements the organization made across the board in the offseason, that'd be an unacceptable way to start Canales' tenure.

Carolina is currently a four-point underdog at DraftKings Sportsbook, but this should be a victory. Unless the Panthers are comfortable with another lost season and perhaps a new QB moving forward, you can't lose to the Raiders.

Vegas was solid defensively, ranking in the top 11 in opponent yards per play (5.2), but the team was miserable offensively. The Raiders were 27th in yards per play (4.9), and the Panthers' new-look defense should be able to build some confidence here.

It's vital for Canales to start the year with momentum and prove he was the right man for the job. This is the game to show Carolina is making progress.