Both the Carolina Panthers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers are supposed to be improved football teams this season. We’ll find out in Week 1 which may have the leg up when they meet up in Tampa.
The man all Carolina fans adore and worship is Cam Newton, who shredded up the NFL in his first season in the league. In fact, he set the record for most rushing touchdowns by a quarterback. As a rookie.
Newton still has much to improve upon, starting with limiting the errant throws, but there’s no questioning this guy’s special talents.
The connection he forged with Steve Smith was something to see. Smith was starting to become extremely unhappy in Carolina because of all of the franchise’s quarterback troubles. The arrival of Newton has completely erased all of those doubts about the future.
Misery has been replaced by optimism in Carolina and Newton is the reason why.
A running back tandem of DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart has proven it can work in the past, though Stewart is struggling to stay healthy ahead of this weekend’s opener.
This could be a much-improve defensive unit for the Panthers too. They drafted Luke Kuechly, a tackle machine, in the first round and he’ll join up with Jon Beason and James Anderson to give Carolina a very effective linebacking corps.
The Panthers are starting to build up a nice core group of players on both sides of the ball, but they’ll have their hands full this Sunday against Tampa Bay, a team also seemingly on the rise.
Newton has quickly become a top quarterback in this league and would seem to have the edge up on the Buccaneers’ Josh Freeman, but Carolina’s opponents do have more threats in the passing game, such as Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams.
Nonetheless, the Carolina Panthers are favored by NFL odds makers and have a great shot at walking away with the W.