Cam Newton made it a memorable season yet in what seemed to be a constant in-doubt campaign for the football team in Charlotte. A team that did not even win eight games has a chance at redemption in the second season, as the Panthers defeated the Atlanta Falcons 34-3 in Atlanta in a game that was never really close and will be hosting a Wildcard Playoff Game at home on Saturday at 4:35 PM ET.
Newton had the dominant look early, but the Panthers returned two touchdowns for scores and he finished the day just very regularly 10 of 16 for 114 yards and a touchdown. He didn’t turn the ball over and he ran for 51 yards and a score.
The Panthers will host the Arizona Cardinals in a game that is about as good as they could have hoped for; with Arizona missing Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton and down to Ryan Lindley as a starter. The Cardinals have a fierce defense and a coach that gets everything out of them. The Panthers open as a four-point favorite, which I expect to climb by a point or so. I don’t think this is an easy game to handicap outright.
I’m excited the game will open up Wildcard weekend and I can’t wait to see the Panthers playing in Charlotte in their black uniforms in one of the best environments in football. The bottom line is that with all the teams in disarray from year to year in the NFL, the Panthers are in the playoffs for the second year in a row. It says something about their organization – that they’re not perfect but on the right track – and that their quarterback is a winner who is destined for some degree of greatness in this league.
I can’t wait for Saturday. Cam Newton has made it a good couple of weeks here at my home in a year that has been harder to enjoy than ever before as far as football goes.