When: Noon CST, Sunday, September 18, 2011
Where: Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC
TV: FOX, Ron Pitts and Jim Mora, Jr.
Radio: 620 AM WTMJ (Milwaukee); Packers Radio Network
Series: Packers lead, 6-4 (Panthers won last regular season game, 35-31, in Nov. 2008 at Lambeau Field)
Five things to watch
Cam vs. the doubters
In the past year or so, Panthers quarterback Cam Newton has been doubted about everything from the authenticity to his smile to his ability to pick up a simple NFL offense. While his 422-yard NFL debut emphatically silenced most of those critics, they’ve been replaced by new doubters who think there’s no chance he’ll do well against a more talented Packers defense Sunday afternoon.
I, for one, hesitate to doubt Newton, who has risen to nearly every football challenge laid before him. There’s just something special about Newton that’s hard to attribute with stats or scouting terms. He has that “it” factor.
This will arguably be the biggest test of his football career, however, as Newton has never seen a defense as talented or multi-faceted as the Packers team he will face Sunday. Can he rise to this task as well? He might not lead the underdog Panthers to an upset win, but it’s hard to bet against Newton playing well, especially with Tramon Williams potentially on the sidelines.
Spreading the wealth
Much has been made in the 10 days leading up to this game about the disappearance of receiver James Jones in the offense during the Packers’ Week 1 win over the Saints. I think any competitor would be upset in his shoes, and he’s voiced that opinion a few times this week. It’s been discussed more than it needed in the lead up to this game, in my opinion.
Every dog will have his day in the Packers offense, but every dog won’t be satisfied every week. That’s just how it will go this season. Would anyone really be surprised if Jones caught a handful of passes this season?