The Panthers have a unique sounding record of 3-2-1 and they face off with the 4-2 Packers on Sunday afternoon in Green Bay Wisconsin. The Packers were down by 7 heading into the 4th quarter last week vs. the Miami Dolphins and were on the verge of losing to an underdog opponent. Quarterback Aaron Rogers found himself down 24-17 late in the fourth quarter. He then led a 68-yard drive that resulted in a field goal and a 24-20 deficit. After forcing a punt Rogers led his team on a crazy final drive that featured a “fake spike” that was perfectly executed by Rogers for a first down and it led to a game winning 4-yard touchdown pass to Andrew Quarles. Rogers finished with 3 touchdown passes for 264 yards and had no turnovers. The Panthers have a quarterback of their own and it looks as if he has finally gotten his running ability back. Quarterback Cam Newton was slowed by an early season rib injury. He missed the first games of the season and then played through the pain for several weeks. It appears that he is finally healthy because he put on a rushing and passing display for the ages during last weeks tie against the Bengals. He was 29-46 for 284 yards and a touchdown. He also had 17 carries for 107 yards and a touchdown. Both of these teams are playing better as of late and are coming off emotional victories.
Rogers is the key to the Packers offense. Other players have come in and out of the lineup and the team continues to win. When Rogers missed time last season with a collarbone injury the teams poor play showed how important he is to the offense. Last week he became the first player to throw for 15 touchdown passes with 1 or fewer interceptions through the first 6 games of the season. He is currently in the midst of a 170 passes without an interception streak, which is 11 passes shy of his career best streak. There are again questions about the Packers running game as second year running back Eddie Lacy has been inconsistent at best. He had 14 carries for 40 yards last week. Look for his amount of carries to increase against a strong Panther defense.
The Panthers have been an offensive juggernaut lately, scoring 31 and 37 points in the last two weeks respectively. The teams running game from someone other than Newton is expected to get a boost with the return of running back Jonathan Stewart who is likely to return after a 3 week absence. Starting running back Deangelo Williams will not be active again this week. Wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin sustained a concussion against the Bengals and it remains doubtful that he will play on Sunday although he has yet to be officially ruled out. Tight end Greg Olsen will likely see even more targets in the absence of Benjamin.
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