After Cam Newton’s record breaking debut, he faces a much tougher encore against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday at 1:00pm ET.
Newton passed for 422 yards, along with two TDs to Steve Smith and a rushing TD, plus 1 INT in his opening game against the Arizona Cardinals. The performance was impressive on all accounts, but stepping up from the Cardinals, who were 5-11 last season, to the defending Super Bowl Champions will be a much tougher test.
The Green Bay Packers defense was ranked in the top five last year, and blitzes more than almost any team in the league. They are expected to come after Newton early and often to try to test the rookie.
Packers coach Mike McCarthy showed a lot of respect for Newton this week, saying, “I think Cam Newton was very impressive. For the young man to go out there in his first game and put up the numbers that he did, it looked like he was very much in control of their offense.”
As did Packers linebacker Clay Matthews “Surprisingly, he wants to get rid of the ball,” said Matthews. “I think that’s the maturation of a quarterback – he’s not looking to run right off the bat. He makes the throws that he needs to off the run. Absolutely, we have to keep an eye on him, especially with his athleticism.”
The Packers defense did give up 419 passing yards to Drew Brees and the Saints in the opener, but the Saints passing offense is one of the top in the league right now, so that says more about the Saints offense than it does about any weakness on the Packers.
The Packers looked very solid in their opener, and Super Bowl MVP Aaron Rodgers continued his superlative play from last season. Rodgers passed for 312 yards and 3 TDs with no INTs in the opener, throwing the ball to nine different receivers and starting the season with a QB efficiency rating of 132.1.
Expect the Packers to put a lot of pressure on Newton, particularly early in the game. And if the Packers get ahead early, there will be even more pressure on Newton to air it out and try to fight back into the game.
The smart money expects Newton to come back down to earth after his lofty opener, but then the smart money wasn’t betting on him playing anywhere near as well as he did in the opener. We expect a Packers victory, but Newton to continue to impress and to put in another solid game.
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