Over the past six weeks Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers have completely flipped the script on what was the perception of both their quarterback and Head Coach Ron Rivera. Before this most recent winning streak the Panthers were at the bottom of the NFC South and the feeling was that Cam was not a winner and Ron Rivera was in over his head as a Head Coach. The incredible play of Carolina’s defense lead by LB Luke Kuechly and DE Charles Johnson have stifled opposing offenses and put the Panthers in a position to win every game.
This winning streak is exactly what Cam Newton needed. After the draft of 2012 and the emergence of Colin Kaepernick, Cam Newton became a forgotten commodity. His talent and skill set for the most part was tossed aside. Newton is managing the game effectively and making plays with both his arm and legs which makes him a dynamic play-making threat on every down. If you want to drop into a zone he has the ability to shred you deep, if you want to play man to man and run with his receivers he can take off and get not only the first down but six points in the process.
Last night’s win on the big stage proved to all of the ‘Newton-Naysayers’ that he can make the plays to win a big game. To be fair, Cam had some throws in the intermediate passing game that got the better of him but when it was time to go out there and win the game, he was incredibly accurate. Cam had pinpoint precision on his deep throws of more than twenty yards against the Patriots last night and on the final drive almost every throw was on the money. Cam’s new found confidence in the passing game along with his dynamic ability to both run the football and extend plays make him one of the more dangerous offensive threats in the NFL. If you didn’t believe the Panthers were a legitimate Super Bowl threat, beating Tom Brady and Bill Belichick off of a bye week should make you reconsider your position.
The Panthers with a win in last night’s game gives them a record of 7-3 with two divisional contests coming up in the next three weeks. Both the Saints and Buccaneers have been hot the last two weeks and the Week 14 and 16 battles with the Saints could potentially decide home field advantage in the NFC. Cam Newton and company will be tested throughout the rest of the season, however the streak that they’re on might create a situation where you’ll have to go through Carolina to win the NFC. Who thought we’d be saying that at the beginning of the season. Panthers (7-3) face the Miami Dolphins (5-5) and Ryan Tannehill this week in Miami which is not the toughest of environments but still will be a good test none the less. I like the Panthers in this game, 26-14.