What the schedule tells us: Unfavorable. According to ESPN’s Football Power Index, the Panthers will be favored in only three of their remaining 12 games. On paper, the schedule gets tougher after this week’s bye, with a trip to Seattle and consecutive home games against Philadelphia, Indianapolis and Green Bay. But the Eagles and Colts are struggling, and both games are in Charlotte. The Cowboys aren’t guaranteed to have starting quarterback Tony Romo back for a Thanksgiving Day game against the Panthers, one of the tougher contests down the stretch. In all likelihood, Carolina’s playoff fate will come down to how it does in games on Dec. 13 and 27 against NFC South rival Atlanta; the Panthers have won four of the last five meetings.