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After a 0-2 start that included heartbreaking losses to the Seattle Seahawks and Buffalo Bills, the Carolina Panthers took out their early frustrations on the visiting New York Giants last week.
The 38-0 beating featured a big performance by quarterback Cam Newton and a defense that spent the majority of the afternoon in the New York backfield with Eli Manning.
Still, the key for Ron Rivera’s team will be following that win up with a road victory over the Arizona Cardinals. A win in their next game would put the club at 2-2, Carolina’s best four-game start since 2008.
And if the defense continues to excel, that shouldn’t be an issue. All told, the Panthers have allowed only 36 points and three touchdowns in their first three games, including zero touchdowns in the first half.
Green Bay Packers
Are the Green Bay Packers truly all the way back?
Mike McCarthy’s club has now surrendered exactly 34 points in two of their first three games this season, both losses.
Turnovers have played a big part in the team’s slow start in 2013. The Packers have coughed up the ball seven times in three outings, quite a turnaround for a club that committed just 16 turnovers in 2012.
And Green Bay’s pass protection remains an issue. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers has thrown eight touchdown passes and just three interceptions (two of those in the loss to the Cincinnati Bengals). But the Pro Bowl signal-caller has also been sacked 10 times in three weeks.
On the plus side, the Pack has gotten back-to-back individual 100-yard rushing performances the last two weeks, first by James Starks (132 yards) in Week 2 and, last Sunday, by rookie Johnathan Franklin (103 yards).