Last week the Panthers got back in the win column, and I enjoyed getting last week's game correct, going to 5-2 on the year. This week is a bit tricky to call, but here's how I see it:
1. Adrian Peterson. I don't believe AP will have a big game this week. I don't see him dominating the game and should not get over 110 yards. Why? First, because RB's rarely go for huge games in back to back weeks. Peterson had his biggest day of the year last week, going for over 170 yards against the Packers. Second, Peterson is a little gimpy having hurt his ankle in the 4th quarter of last week's game. Third, our rush defense has improved. Not much, but a little bit. I'm not saying he won't have any big gains or have a terrible game. I am saying AP will not dominate this game resulting in a Panthers loss.
2. Jared Allen. Though Allen is having a career year with 11.5 sacks, it obviously hasn't resulted in a lot of Viking wins. Jordan Gross will line up against Allen and should hold his own. Even if Allen gets to the QB a couple of times, Cam does not always go down as easily as most of Allen's other sack victims. Similar to Peterson, I'm not saying Allen won't have some good plays. But I do not see him dominating the game resulting in a Panthers defeat.
3. Christian Ponder. I was less impressed than a lot of the pundits in reviewing his starting debut last week. After finding a wide open Michael Jenkins for a 72 yard strike for his first throw, Ponder played the rest of the game 12 for 31 for 147 yards, and a couple of picks. And much of that "success" came in the 4th quarter against a semi-prevent Packers defense. He will scramble for a few first downs. But he will struggle in his first road start against a stingy Panthers pass defense. Rookie QB's not named Newton usuallystruggle on the road. Look for at least 2 turnovers and lots of incompletions from this green rookie QB wearing purple.
4. SuperCam. I look for Cam to have a big day, over 300 yards and 4 total TDs. He will be rolling out to the right, away from Allen, and finding open receivers all day.
5. Intangibles. I'm not really sure what the Vikings motivation for this game is going to be. After a 1-6 start, it is clearly a rebuilding year, allowing Ponder to learn on the job the rest of the way and see if they can get a few more wins by January. While one might say the same thing for the Panthers, I like their hatred of losing and desire for winning led by our rookie QB. It is a home game against a below average team. So far this year, the Panthers are 2-0 at home against average/below average teams. Look for that to continue this Sunday.
The Panthers are going to outscore the Vikings this Sunday. Look for this game to start a "Defending our House" mentality; this young team is building confidence that we should, can, and will win most of our games at home the rest of the year. Remember our two home losses so far this year have been versus two of the top teams in the league, the Packers and the Saints.
Panthers 34 Vikings 23
That’s how I see it. What about you Panthers fans? How do you see this Sunday’s game? You make the call,
Let’s hear it!