Thursday Night Football: It’s all about Cam Newton

Thursday is Cam Newton’s night. It’s his time 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. The game kicks off at 8:25 p.m. ET on the NFL Network.

Newton has become the forgotten man among the NFL’s elite athletic quarterbacks. Thursday, that can all change with a chance to bring his Panthers to over .500 eight weeks into the season.

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

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

The Panthers reached a low point in 2010 with a 2-14 record. But that meant they got 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 should play to an 8-8 record this year, which might be good enough for the last wild card in the NFC, 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 Carolina is expected to win.

But fans want to see more than a standard win. They want to see Newton do a little bit of everything and show 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. He carries a lot of weight and monster marketing potential. He will win a Super Bowl eventually 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

Howard Alperin is Managing Editor of

About Howard M Alperin

Husband, Father, Teacher, Planner, Advisor, Counselor, Social Worker, Businessman, Consultant, Blogger, Author, Entrepreneur, Inventor, YMCA Coach, Marketer, Innovator, Advertiser, Promoter, Court Appointed Special Advocate to children, Volunteer, Runner, Athlete, Spanish Speaker, Non-Sports Card Collector, Dog Agility Enthusiast and OIF Veteran.


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