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Don’t be fooled by their 1-5 record—the Carolina Panthers are better than they appear. They have been in every one of their games this season, except one.
The Panthers lost their first game to the Arizona Cardinals in Arizona, where the Cards seem to play every team tough. It was also rookie QB Cam Newton’s first game as a pro, and rookie quarterbacks rarely win their first game in the NFL.
Their second loss was to the defending Superbowl champion Green Bay Packers. The score was 23-16 Green Bay until 2:14 in the fourth quarter when Aaron Rodgers connected with Jordy Nelson for 84 yards on the go-ahead touchdown.
Their third loss was to the Chicago Bears by five at Soldier Field, a tough place to play for any team. Their fourth loss was to the New Orleans Saints at the Superdome. The Panthers were leading this game by four late in the fourth quarter with less than a minute to go when Drew Brees hit Pierre Thomas with the six-yard go-ahead touchdown.
Their most recent 14-point loss against the Atlanta Falcons was the first game they were not in late in the fourth quarter. Newton threw three interceptions that cost his team the game.
Newton and the Panthers could possibly be 3-3 if a few plays would have went their way this season. They are a young team that has not been together for more than a season and had to deal with a shortened training camp with a new coach and new system. They just need time to come together.
Until they can come together, they do have some offensive weapons to rely on in Newton, WR Steve Smith, TE Greg Olsen and RBs DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart, which gives them a dual-threat backfield.
This week, the Panthers play the Washington Redskins in Carolina. While the Redskins, who at 3-2 have the superior record, have not played the superior opponent.
The Redskins' three victories this season come against an injury-plagued New York Giants team in Week 1, a one-point win over the Arizona Cardinals and a 17-10 win over the winless St. Louis Rams.
After being unable to move the offense and throwing four interceptions in defeat against the Philadelphia Eagles, Washington QB Rex Grossman was benched in favor of John Beck, who some believed should have been the starter to begin with. If a QB controversy starts up it will cause a distraction, possibly opening the door for Newton and the Panthers to grab their second victory of the season.