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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Thursday Night NFL: It's All About Cam Newton

Thursday is Cam Newton's night.  It's his game to put a show on.  He's without the pressure of a home crowd and can rally his teammates on the road, as the 3-3 Carolina Panthers visit the winless and troubled Tampa Bay Buccaneers, starting at 8:25 ET.

Cam has become the forgotten man among the elite NFL athletic quarterbacks.  Thursday, that can all change with a chance to bring his Panthers to an above .500 record seven weeks into the season.

With the Atlanta Falcons stumbling out of the gates, the Panthers are in a position to battle for a Wildcard berth.  This is a pleasant surprise for those who have been following Cam's career, since he took home the Heisman and the national championship while attending Auburn U.

For the most part, it has been all struggles for Newton and his Panthers since he arrived to help save and rebuild the young franchise.

The franchise reached a low point in 2010 with a 2-14 record.  Alas, they did get the first pick and chose Newton.

Since his initiation into the big leagues in 2011, he has started every game, ending that first season with a 6-10 record.  The following season saw a one game improvement to 7-9.  Logic follows that the Panthers play to an 8-8 record this year, which might be good enough for the last Wildcard, though 9-7 would make things much easier.

Getting to 9-7 for the Panthers means winning the games they are expected to win.  Thursday night, the Panthers are expected to win.

But, fans want to see more than a standard win.  Fans want to see Newton do a little bit of everything and some shake and bake.  He has weapons around him, including two all-time figures in Carolina Panther history.

Newton and the coaching staff will have to incorporate DeAngelo Williams and Steve Smith, all-time leading Panther rusher and receiver respectively, into the game early.

Make no mistake about it, this is a big game for the NFL, too.  The NFL has a lot at stake with Cam Newton at the controls.  Newton carries a lot of weight and monster marketing potential.  He will win a Super Bowl and just about everybody in and around the League knows it.

Prediction:  Newton and the Panther defense take control of this game and dominate, final score Panthers 47-Buccaneers 10

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