The Carolina Panthers and the Washington Football Team will meet on Sunday in a Week 11 showdown.
After dropping five of their past six games, the Carolina Panthers roared back into the win column with a 34-10 drubbing of the NFC-leading Arizona Cardinals in Week 10. They outgained their opponents 341-169 in total yards, held them to just 104 passing yards, and put on an all-around dominant performance.
Despite the 24-point victory against the Cardinals, the game contained a bit of a subplot, or a sequel, if you will, that overshadowed the final score. Last Thursday the Panthers brought back quarterback Cam Newton on a one-year deal, giving the former MVP a chance to resurrect his career in the place it all started.
Newton, who is the team’s all-time leader in passing yards and touchdowns, as well the franchise’s leader in rushing touchdowns, had been in contact with the Panthers shortly after the loss to the New England Patriots on November 7, and ultimately signed his deal after a few days of phone calls and negotiations.
The return of “Superman,” as Newton is affectionately known, provided an instant boost to an offense that was sorely lacking in both energy and production. Carolina had been the worst in the NFL in just about every meaningful category during Weeks 7-9 but erupted for 34 points on Sunday against one of the best defenses in the league.
Newton played just eight snaps in Arizona. But made his presence felt.
He ran a touchdown in from a yard out on his first play and followed that up with a passing score to Robby Anderson on his second. With a full week of preparation now under his belt, all signs point to the Panthers legend starting this weekend against Ron Rivera and the Washington Football Team.
At 5-5, the Panthers remain squarely in the playoff hunt, currently clinging to the final wildcard spot with eight weeks to go in the regular season. Carolina has a string of winnable games coming up over the next month, with dates with Washington, the Miami Dolphins, and a rematch with the Atlanta Falcons.
A lot of familiar faces will be in town this weekend when Washington takes the field at Bank of America Stadium, but the Panthers can’t afford to let their guards down. A win would certainly boost their playoff chances and would help build confidence for the team as they prepare for a daunting final stretch in late December and January.
With that being said, here’s how they can take down Rivera, Marty Hurney, and the rest of their former close associates in Washington.