For the (1-6) Carolina Panthers this season has been about as miserable as any I can recall. The Panthers have not only failed to live up to high expectations, but have done so in epic fashion. Many experts picked them as a potential super bowl contender coming into the season; it’s safe to say that’s out of the question as they now rank dead last in the NFC after just nine weeks of play.
There’s no doubt the Panthers have the talent to win games, but for some reason they continue to lose week in and week out. They have just one win through seven games, losing five straight after blowing fourth quarter leads in four of those contest.
It’s heartbreaking for players and fans alike, having already cost General Manager Marty Hurney his job after an 11 year stretch defined by his teams up and down success. There could be more firings on the way if the Panthers fail to improve their play, and with a tough upcoming schedule it seems likely that things will only get worse before they get better.
This week’s matchup between the (1-6) Carolina Panthers and the (3-5) Washington Redskins should provide fans with a ton of excitement despite the teams losing records. This game could be a rivalry in the making as the 2011 Rookie of the Year faces off against the potential 2012 Rookie of the Year. Many experts have already begun comparing quarterbacks Cam Newton and Robert Griffin lll to one another, and will use this game as a way to separate the two previous Heisman Trophy winners.
Since being drafted second to Andrew Luck, Redskins rookie quarterback Robert Griffin lll has had little trouble establishing himself as a prolific player in the NFL. He is a class act, and a good leader on and off the field. That’s where comparisons between Newton and Griffin end. Though very similar is specs, the two quarterbacks style of play is totally different. Newton is known for making crucial mistakes, and lacks poise in the pocket; meanwhile RG3 has one of the highest completion percentages in the NFL, a rare accomplishment for a rookie QB.
Both are extremely dangerous with the ball in their hands, and even more so on their feet. That may be the only true comparison between the two, as their levels of maturity are worlds apart. Newton may have spent more time in the NFL, but so far has little to show for it. RG3 on the other hand, may not win every game, but acts as if he’s been in the league for years.
Cam Newton's bad attitude has been a topic of discussion lately. It's understandable given the Panthers losing ways, but that needs to change in a hurry if the Panthers wish to salvage the season. Unsatisfied fans have begun to lose hope in Newton, due to his mixture of poor play and questionable leadership skills.
It’s only a matter of time before Newton turns things around. He could certainly use a strong showing against the Redskins this Sunday. Sophomore slumps are a common thing in the NFL; just ask second year quarterback Andy Dalton about his recent struggles. What Cam Newton needs now is find stability in his game and continue to grow not just physically, but mentally as well. Confidence is everything for Cam, and when he has it the Panthers are a completely different team.
In order to accomplish this Cam will need to prove himself against a notably better Washington Redskins team. It’s not just the quarterback play that defines the Redskins. Rookie running back Alfred Morris has quickly become a top five running back, and combined with quarterback Robert Griffin lll the Redskins ground attack is tops in the league. That could spell trouble for the Panthers defense that has struggled mightily to stop the run throughout the course of the season.
Don't give up on the Panthers just yet, they have a much better team than their record indicates. They might not make the playoffs this season, but they can still play the spoiler. A strong finish could go a long for many of those whose jobs are on the line, as well as the players whose future with the team depends upon it. For that to happen Offenisve Coordinator Rob Chudzinski will need to get on the same page with his young quarterback, and quickly if the Panthers wish to return to mediocrity.
I expect a high scoring affair that easily clears the over/under set at 47. Though the Redskins are the projected 3.5 point favorite in this matchup I believe the Panthers will defy the spread and find a way to win in what could be a season defining game for Cam Newton and the Panthers.
Prediction: Panthers 28, Redskins 24
Questionable- LB Thomas Davis(knee), DT Dwan Edwards(ankle), WR Brandon Lafell(concussion), DE Frank Alexander(knee),
Questionable- CB DeAngelo Hall(possible suspension)