The Carolina Panthers’ dream season continues to roll along. A rain-soaked victory on Monday Night Football helped propel the Black and Blue to 7-0. A win over the Green Bay Packers could put the Panthers into position for a home game and bye for the playoffs. Teams are starting to take notice of the Panthers. They’re nervous about playing at Bank of America Stadium.
The Panthers have been a team on a mission. The focus has been totally different. The sulking attitude of Cam Newton is gone and he’s blossoming into a candidate for MVP. This is all after the experts wrote them off as a legitimate contender.
“All I want to do is keep winning. Nothing’s changed,” Newton said via the Charlotte Observer. “I play this game for one reason and that’s to find ways to get another win in the win column. That’s what the fans come to the games to see.”
As reported by ESPN, the Panthers had an outside shot at securing a division championship. The projected record is 9-7. Win number seven wasn’t supposed to happen until Week 11. The Panthers are way ahead of the curve. Playing with confidence and determination, the Panthers are proving many of their doubters wrong and making some teams nervous about playing them.
The Panthers are showing they can win when Cam Newton has a below average day. He no longer has to wear the “S” on his chest for the Panthers to dominate their opponent. The Panthers’ win against the Seahawks was an example of the winning mindset that has taken over. Newton was a mere mortal and went 20-of-36 for 269 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions. But the Panthers showed the resolve to come from behind and defeat the reigning NFC champs.
Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy, who was with Newton at the Pro Bowl after the 2011 season, called the Panthers quarterback one of the better players in the league. McCarthy says prepping for Newton is no picnic.
“I can tell you clearly we’re studying Cam Newton and preparing for all the different things he does,” McCarthy said. “From a diversity standpoint, I don’t know if there’s a quarterback that does more than he does from the quarterback position.”
Newton’s style and numbers are on par with what he did last season. But there’s one thing missing from that equation. This year the Panthers are winning. People are starting to take a closer look at what he’s doing to help keep the Panthers’ streak alive.
The Panthers make teams nervous because of their style of play. They’re not a finesse team that pulls out trick plays. They keep logging wins with head-to-head football. They beat you with personnel and heart. It’s a sheer dominance brand of the game that hasn’t been seen for a while.
Coordinator Sean McDermott has the Panthers’ defense at the top of the NFL once more. His unit is ranked No. 9 in the league and injects fear into opposing coaches who have to prepare for the Panthers. This small bit of pressure – along with a balanced offense – is making teams extremely anxious when Carolina comes up on the schedule.
The Panthers’ Cam Newton isn’t putting up massive numbers. There’s no speedy deep threat with Kelvin Benjamin out. But they still have the ability to make teams nervous. That’s all that matters.
[Feature Image by Streeter Lecka / Getty Images]