Tom Brady had to struggle at every level just to make it to the NFL; he joined the New England Patriots in 2000 as the 199th selection in the draft.
Though expectations were low, he made good as soon as the opportunity presented itself, to become one of the greatest quarterbacks ever to play the game.
Cam Newton came with high expectations as he declared for the draft in 2011 following his National Championship win with Auburn and the Heisman Trophy.
He was drafted first overall by the Carolina Panthers as much for his scrambling ability as his arm. His average passer rating of 86 is well below expectations, but over 700 yards of rushing in each of his first two seasons is impressive.
And this is exactly where he will look to excel against a Patriots defense that has suffered more than its share of injuries. If the Carolina running game plays up to expectations, the New England defense may be in for a long night.
On the other side is an offense that is capable of scoring a lot of points very quickly on any given day (or night). The key for New England will be the protection of the less-than-mobile but crafty veteran. New England does present a more well-rounded attack, with a diverse and finally-healthy receiving corps to complement an equally talented running attack.
Now... without any further adieu...
1. I predict Cam Newton to lead Carolina in rushing with 60 yards.
Unfortunately for Carolina, the rest of the run game will struggle against an improving New England front seven, only gaining an additional 50 yards on the ground.
2. Tom Brady will light up the weak Carolina secondary.
With a bevy of healthy (scary) receivers, including wide receivers, tight ends, and running backs, Brady throws for 425 yards and three TDs.
3. The Patriots continue their winning ways on the backs of their grinding running game and Brady's arm.
The game will be fairly close until the Pats pull away at the end winning by 10 off of Carolina turnovers; the Patriots win the turnover battle in yet another crucial contest. But much of the attention goes to the offense which has begun to hit on all cylinders, making this team one of the scariest on the planet.
Carolina's impressive run comes to end, at home, under the weight of a crushing Patriots attack. New England keeps their firm grip on the division with a balanced win over a tough opponent.