The Carolina Panthers and St. Louis Rams are both coming off of much needed wins and are looking to use that momentum to keep their respective winning streaks alive.
Here are three predictions for this Sunday’s game.
No. 1 Lots Of Points, Mostly From The Panthers Side…
Sam Bradford has thrown for 339 yards and six touchdowns with a 121.6 passer rating the past two games. He’s clearly worked out some of the issues that he had early on in the season and is headed in the right direction.
The Rams have play-makers in Austin Pettis, Chris Givens, and Tavon Austin that should be able to make big plays when needed. Meanwhile, the Panthers and particularly coach Ron Rivera have shown that they aren’t afraid to take some risks if it means there is a chance for a touchdown rather than a field goal.
Last week the Panthers went for it on fourth and one twice on their opening drive against the Minnesota Vikings. Newton went on to pass for 242 yards and three touchdowns along with 30 rushing yards and another touchdown.
The Panthers have also shown that they are getting more comfortable with Ted Ginn and Brandon LaFell, which is extremely important if they hope to get Steve Smith the ball on a consistent basis. The Panthers' run game is nothing flashy, but it is quietly consistent and that should continue this week.
No. 2 …Because The Panthers' Defense Is Looking Good.
To clarify, the Panthers' front seven looks great. Their secondary is the reason that the Rams will be able to score a few points. The Panthers currently rank fourth in run defense allowing only 88.8 rushing yards per game. And that number is no fluke as they held Adrian Peterson and the Vikings to 75 rushing yards last week.
They are third in the NFL in total defense, allowing only 299.2 yards per game while creating eight turnovers in their past three games. Not only will they keep a team from scoring, no one should be surprised if the defense puts points on the board along with Newton and the offense.
Bradford will find someone open through the air, but the running game and overall offense will be hard to come by for the Rams.
No. 3 Cam Newton Will Have A Huge Day.
The Rams created some turnovers last week that resulted in lots of points against the Houston Texans. While it was an impressive showing, it was also against a struggling quarterback. Even with the much needed win, the Rams still gave up 141 rushing yards to Arian Foster. This bodes well for Newton as he will find running lanes to pick up some personal yards and possibly run one in for a touchdown.
More importantly, it will open up the passing game. This Panthers' offense has been waiting for the opportunity to be allowed to air it out. Rivera and the rest of the coaching staff know that if they don’t change some things in a hurry that their future with the team will likely come to a close and they know that those changes have to start with allowing Newton to do the things he is best at.
Look for Newton to play catch with Smith, Lafell, Ginn, and anyone else running routes all day. It should be a fun game to watch for Panthers fans.