After a sub-standard follow-up to his stellar 2011 rookie season, Cam Newton bounced back in 2013 to set career highs in touchdown passes (24), completion percentage (61.7) and passer rating (88.8) while also rushing for 585 yards and six scores. He’s helped the Panthers win 11 of 12, leading four game-winning drives during that span.
Carolina has posted a 200-84 scoring advantage while winning seven straight home games since a 12-7 season-opening loss to Seattle.
The Panthers last made the playoffs in the 2008 season, also finishing 12-4 to win the South and earn a first-round bye before losing 33-13 to Arizona. Taking the next step after a stellar regular season will again be the focus for Carolina.
The Panthers are expected to have Steve Smith back, but the team will need the line to protect. When Cam Newton is rushed by 4 or more pass rushers, he struggles horribly. I expect the Niners to rush quite a bit this weekend.