Peyton Manning may not be as good as he was before his injury, but he still is one of the best in the league. Manning is first in the league in quarterback rating and completion percentage, third in touchdowns and fifth in yards.
He’s clicking with Demaryius Thomas, who’s enjoying the best season of his career already with 201 more receiving yards than his previous career high and just as many touchdowns as his personal best. Also, just halfway into the season Eric Decker is only 29 yards away from his receiving yards total from last year and one touchdown away from matching his 2011 total.
Carolina does have a good pass defense. The Panthers are 12th in the league in passing yards allowed per game and tied for seventh in sacks.
The story all season however has been Cam Newton’s struggles. He’s only completing 57 percent of his passes (down from 60 percent last season), has eight interceptions to six touchdown passes for a worse touchdown-to-interception ratio than last year and already has one more fumble than last season. His quarterback rating is down 6.8 points as well.
The Panthers are fourth in the NFC and tied for 11th in the NFL in giveaways. The turnovers, much like last season, are proving to be very costly.