Cam Newton delivered a national title for the Auburn Tigers in the 2010 season – now eight years removed from the feat, the ultimate success at the highest level has eluded him and the Carolina Panthers. The 29-year-old reached Super Bowl 50 after being named MVP in the 2015 campaign. However, he and his team-mates were to fall short against the Denver Broncos at Levi’s Stadium. Newton’s play in the season was outstanding, throwing 35 touchdowns to just 10 interceptions, while he rushed for a further 636 yards and 10 scores.
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The Panthers’ offense was able to destroy their opponents, none more so than their destruction of the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC Championship game, putting 49 points on the board. Ron Rivera’s men were stymied by the quality of the Denver Broncos’ defense in the Super Bowl. The Broncos put together one of the most formidable units in NFL history, allowing Peyton Manning to do just enough to clinch his second crown.
Unfortunately for Newton and the Panthers, they ran into an inspired defense to lose out on securing their first Vince Lombardi trophy. The 2016 season proved to be a hangover from their loss, but last term the club were able to return to the playoffs. They battled the New Orleans Saints on the road in a thrilling contest that saw momentum turn one way then the other.
Can They Deal with a Franchise Change?
Newton had the ball in the dying seconds, although he did not have the time to conjure a late comeback as his side slipped to a five-point defeat. Since then, Carolina have gone through an off-season of change as owner Jerry Richardson sold the franchise to David Tepper. There are new offensive and defensive coordinators in place following the departures of Mike Shula and Steve Wilks, with Norv Turner and Eric Washington assuming the new roles. Due to the amount of change in the organisation in the off-season the Panthers are not considered leading contenders for the crown with odds as high as 33/1 to win the Super Bowl.
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Is Brees’ Age an Issue?
It does present value, but also takes into account that in the NFC South, the Saints are on the rise despite the age of Drew Brees. The young talent on their roster, featuring Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas, highlights their threat in the division. The Atlanta Falcons are one season removed from reaching the Super Bowl, and although they were beaten in the Wildcard Round by the Philadelphia Eagles last term, Matt Ryan and company remain a quality outfit once again stocked with fledgling quality. However, if Newton can find his form and the defense is stout, the Panthers could be a solid outside bet in the NFL football picks to clinch the Lombardi trophy, especially with a bonus offer on some sites worth up to $250.
Newton will have more talent around him this year. Torrey Smith arrived in a trade deal from the Philadelphia Eagles, while DJ Moore was selected in the first round of the 2018 Draft by the club. With Curtis Samuel, Devin Funchess and Greg Olsen already in the receiving corps, the quarterback should have more than enough options to disseminate the ball. Christian McCaffrey was selected eighth overall in 2017 and he enjoyed a solid rookie season. Expectations will be higher in his second season, but with CJ Anderson there to lighten the load there’s a chance that the Panthers could have one of the most potent offenses in the NFL. It could make the possibility of Newton delivering the success he enjoyed with Auburn at Carolina.