Between 2011 when Cam Newton was drafted and last season, the Panthers spent $83 million against the cap on running backs and only $58 million on wide receivers (and $23 million of that number was just on Steve Smith in 2011-2013). Without Greg Olsen, in the best division in football, Cam took the Panthers to the playoffs last season.
Torrey Smith is the biggest trade/free-agent acquisition the Panthers have made at receiver in Cam’s career, they drafted DJ Moore from Maryland in the first round, Olsen will be back and Christian McCaffery, the best pass-catching back Cam has ever had, will be even better in his second year. C.J. Anderson is also such an underrated back both running between the tackles and catching the ball out of the backfield.
The last time the Panthers had multiple adequate or better receivers including a deep threat comparable, or even close, to Torrey Smith, the Panthers had the NFL’s best offense, went 15-1 and Cam Newton won MVP. Add in Norv Turner as the Panthers offensive coordinator this season and I see a lot of reasons to like the Panthers win more games and score more points than a lot of people might be anticipating.
Cam has been underappreciated, unfairly condemned for being inconsistent and underperforming. Cameron Poe, Nicolas Cage’s character in Con Air, is given 10 years in prison after killing a guy who came after his pregnant wife after three too many pops. I mean, come on. What’s he supposed to do? And what’s Cam supposed to do with Philly Brown, Devin Funchess, and an injured Jonathan Stewart?
Like Cameron Poe in Con Air, Cameron Newton is going to show his true colors, that he’s the Panthers/society’s/the greater Las Vegas area’s hero in the air in 2018. The Panthers made the playoffs last year and after making serious upgrades on offense, they’ll do it again this season.
As far as my Week 1 pick, I’m admittedly going with an amateur duo of taking the favorite and over. Oh well, I’m getting in early on the Panthers offense with so many new weapons and defense without Thomas Davis for four games. And I’m going against the Cowboys, a public team on the road replacing two franchise players and dealing with a banged up offensive line. All that being said…
Watch out for wet conditions slowing down one or both passing games and keeping the game much lower scoring. If there is serious weather predicted for the game on Sunday morning, take the under on total points.