The Packers Next Opponent: Panthers Lose To Cardinals On Sunday

GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 11: Quarterback Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers throws the ball down field in the NFL season opening game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on September 11, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

I'm no fan of Panthers QB Cam Newton, but he went and had a monster game, starting his NFL career by going 24 of 37 for 422 yards, 2 TDs, and 1 INT. Will he have that same success against the Green Bay Packers next weekend? It's possible, but here's how they can attack him.

First, it's not likely he'll get a lot of help from his running game, which will allow the Packers to focus on the pass. RBs DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart combined for 56 yards on 19 carries against the 30th ranked run defense of 2010. Second, while the Cardinals did generate good pressure with 4 sacks and 7 QB hits, in every highlight on every big pass play, Newton was able to stand in the pocket, step into his throw, and he wasn't hit until after the ball was out of his hand. Force him to move around and then see how accurate he is, while being aware that he can run for it. Also, the Cardinals secondary isn't nearly as good as the Packers, and they'll make it much tougher on him.

On defense, the game was a disaster for the Panthers. LB Jon Beason is apparently lost for the season. QB Kevin Kolb torched them for 309 yards and 2 TDs (but he fumbled twice), and RB Beanie Wells had 18 carries for 90 yards. Their secondary was already shaky, and they put little pressure on Kolb outside of stud DE Charles Johnson.

The Packers will remain heavy favorites against the Panthers, but it's gotten a lot more interesting now that Newton has shown he can make some plays in the NFL, and WR Steve Smith has apparently entered the Juvenation Machine (8 catches for 178 yards and 2 TDs). In 14 games last season, Smith only caught 2 TD passes.

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