The Carolina Panthers are now on a seven-game winning streak under Cam Newton. Newton hasn't had a great statistical season, yet he has matured greatly as a quarterback -- Newton has been patient in the pocket, rather than trying to make a play out of nothing, which often results in an interception. The 2013 Newton takes what defenses gives to him, rather it be a 5-yard completion, or a 5-yard scramble, he'll take it.
What takes pressure off Newton:
Defense. The Panthers' defense has been nothing short of spectacular this season, with a passing defense ranked No. 6, and a running defense ranked No. 3, no team has scored more than 24 points against the Panthers this season. This makes it easier for Newton, who doesn't have to get into a real shoot-out with the opposing quarterback, forcing him to vigorously drive down the field and accumulate points, he can instead take his time, and be mistake-free. Since Week 5, no opponent has scored over 20 points.
What a Super Bowl run depends on:
If Carolina's defense can continue to play at a high level, the Panthers can almost be guaranteed a Super Bowl appearance. With the New Orleans Saints, and the Seattle Seahawks(and arguably the Arizona Cardinals) as the only real contenders in the NFC, the gate is wide open; in Week 1, the Panthers were able to limit the Seahawks to just 12 points, despite only scoring seven of their own, yet Newton has developed since then.
In the next five weeks, Carolina has to face New Orleans two times, have they a good performance against a high-octane offense under Drew Brees, they are a for sure contender as the regular season winds down.
Newton has to stay conservative, and the defense has to stay aggressive.
Against top-10 ranked pass defenses, Newton has accumulated the following stats:
51 of 83, 61.4%, 503 YDS, 4 TDS, 1 INT
Newton has taken care of the ball better than he has ever done, and he will need to continue this pattern as the Panthers tenure into the playoffs.