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The Carolina Panthers were supposed to challenge the New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons for the NFC South crown this year. And with the Saints currently sitting at 0-4, Panthers fans couldn’t have asked for a better setup.
Well, except for the fact that the Falcons have looked outstanding so far.
Nevertheless, the Panthers need to take care of their own business, and much of that falls on second-year signal-caller Cam Newton.
After breaking out as a rookie in 2011, many wondered whether Newton would suffer a sophomore slump or overcome the odds and prove he’s the real deal. While his talent would suggest the latter, his production and performance so far suggest the former.
In four games, Newton has completed 68-of-107 passes for 1,013 yards, four touchdowns and five interceptions. He’s also added three rushing touchdowns.
The stats aren’t terrible, but the major issue has been consistency.
After looking dismal against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on opening day, Carolina took care of business against the Saints. The Panthers then got obliterated by the New York Giants on Thursday Night in Week 3, only to rebound with a strong showing against the Falcons in Week 4.
The key, folks, is Newton.
In the team’s two strong showings (against the Saints and Falcons), Newton is 29-of-44 (70 percent) with 468 passing yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions. He also has 22 carries for 157 yards (7.14 average) and two rushing touchdowns.
In the team’s two poor showings, Newton is 39-of-63 (62 percent) with 545 passing yards, one touchdown and five interceptions. He also has 11 carries for 10 yards and one touchdown.
Newton needs to continue to be efficient and play to his strengths if the Panthers are going to turn around their 1-3 season. With Atlanta still undefeated at 4-0, that turnaround needs to happen now.