The Minnesota Vikings have been terrible this season, and the Carolina Panthers haven’t been much better. While this game should be an atrocity towards football, it is an interesting matchup of rookie quarterbacks.
Both Cam Newton and Christian Ponder were first-round draft picks this season, and both will have a chance to show the NFL what they are made of.
Where: Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, North Carolina
When: Sunday, October 30, 1:00 p.m. ET
Live Streaming Audio: NFL.com Audio Pass ($29.99 for year, $27.99 team specific, $9.99 a month)
Listen: 1110 AM WBT (Charlotte), KFAN 100.3 FM (Minnesota), Sirius Satellite Radio
Betting Line: Over/Under—47.5, Spread—Carolina -3
Which Team Will Win this Game?
What's at Stake?
Both teams are looking up in the NFC standings, and their efforts to make the playoffs are futile anymore. What’s at stake is pride and the future of these teams. Both teams have a rookie quarterback, and this will be a good measuring stick for what they’re made of.
Panthers’ Injury Report
Omar Gaither, LB, Doubtful
Jordan Pugh, S, Doubtful
Greg Olsen, TE, Probable
Jeremy Shockey, TE, Probable
Vikings’ Injury Report
Jamarca Sanford, S, Doubtful
John Sullivan, C, Doubtful
Antoine Winfield, CB, Doubtful
E.J. Henderson, LB, Probable
Steve Hutchinson, G, Probable
Fantasy: Start 'Em, Sit 'Em and Sleeper
Start 'Em: Steve Smith, Panthers
Smith has turned back into the star that dominated fantasy football in the mid 2000s, and he can thank Cam Newton for his over 800 receiving yards and three touchdowns.
Sit 'Em: Percy Harvin, Vikings
Harvin is the ultimate feast or famine player, going from one catch to seven catches from week to week. I wouldn’t be starting Harvin until he showed consistency or I was desperate.
Sleeper: Michael Jenkins, Vikings
The most consistent numbers from the Minnesota Vikings receiving group have come from Jenkins, and Ponder has found him at least three times in each of the last three games.
What They're Saying
Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune about preparing for each week:
One of the things you're trying to do when you are where we are is make sure everybody's focused on who we're playing. This week, I think we're playing Carolina. Everybody's focus has to be on the Carolina Panthers.
ESPN NFL Insider Merril Hoge told the Charlotte Observer about the increased accuracy and talent No. 1 overall pick Cam Newton has now:
I watch tape on everybody. He has more people wide open. His design and route combination -- and now they've got this (shot)gun run they use. They've got so much you have to prepare for. It's freakin' overload for a defense. It's tough.
Key Matchup: Cam Newton vs. Christian Ponder
The battle of rookie quarterbacks is something interesting to watch every time it happens, but this meeting is a little lopsided. Newton has been the starter since the preseason, while Ponder took over two weeks ago and got his first career start last week. Neither defense is lights out, but this should be a good measuring stick for both young stars.
Prediction: Vikings 24, Panthers 23
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