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NFL Carolina Panthers

Carolina Panthers: Cam Newton Can’t Afford to Come out Flat in First Half

Cam Newton

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Cam Newton has the Carolina Panthers playing some of the best football in all of the NFL. However, after almost losing a gimme game last week against the Miami Dolphins, we should pump the breaks a bit before anointing Cam as the savior in Carolina.

In order for the Panthers to keep this streak going, Newton has to be on his best every game. In the first half of last week’s game against the Dolphins, it was as if Cam wasn’t even on the field. Carolina not only needed a second-half comeback, but it was both of Cam’s touchdowns in the second half that propelled the Panthers to victory. That’s well and good, but where was Cam’s playmaking ability in the first half?

This week, Cam and the Panthers are at home against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and it’s an even bigger game than last week. Currently, the Panthers are in the top wildcard spot in the NFC, but they’re only one game behind Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints for the NFC South division lead.

A win over Tampa Bay today would mean the Panthers and Saints are both 3-0 against divisional opponents. At this point, divisional record is huge for Carolina. If Cam can lead the Panthers to at least a split against the Saints, their record against divisional opponents will then be taken into consideration. Losing today against the Buccaneers could very well spoil any momentum the Panthers currently have and keep them from having a chance to actually win their division.

With the Saints on the horizon, Newton can’t afford to come out flat this week. Cam needs to be in MVP form like he was against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots because regardless of the outcome of the Saints and Seattle Seahawks, Brees will be ready for Newton and the Panthers next week. Can we say the same for Cam?

Michael Pidgeon is a Los Angeles Dodgers writer for Rant Sports.com: “Like” him on Facebook, Follow him on Twitter @1AndOnlyPidgeon, add him to your network on Google or e-mail him at black24mamba@aol.com