Ravens need to start preparing for Cam Newton and the Panthers
Coming off a heartbreaking loss, the Ravens now find themselves headed into a game against one of the most polarizing players in the NFL: Cam Newton.
Despite the fact that just about all of Ravens Flock remains in shock over Sunday’s loss to the New Orleans Saints, the fact remains that the team must move forward with the season and look past their losses. Following such a tragic loss, one would think that these Baltimore Ravens would be frustrated and eager to get back into the win column. After all, this is a Ravens team that could easily be 6-1 if not for missed opportunities offensively and crucial stops defensively.
Baltimore still sits at 4-3 on the season and remains in control of its own destiny, but while a 4-3 record leaves open plenty of possibilities, this Sunday’s match-up considered a “must win.” Next on the schedule is a trip to Charlotte, North Carolina to take on the Carolina Panthers, another 4-3 squad looking to compete for their division’s crown as well.
The Panthers have plenty of strengths on their team, to include their stingy defense and rushing attack. The Panthers also host a fantastic home-field advantage and have yet to lose in their own stadium, posting a 3-0 record in Charlotte. The effort of a complete football team has been a huge reason for this, but none more so than the play of their MVP quarterback Cam Newton.
Unlike the rest of the teams Baltimore has faced this year, Carolina presents an incredibly daunting task in stopping Newton. “Super Cam” is arguably the greatest mobile quarterback in NFL history and is having another tremendous season in 2018. On the year, Newton is completing over 65% of his passes with 11 touchdowns to just four interceptions.
But it wouldn’t be a Cam Newton kind of season if he wasn’t dominating on the ground, which he is of course. Newton is averaging 4.9 YPC and has three more touchdowns rushing. Unlike any other quarterback Baltimore has faced in 2018, Newton will be by far the most polarizing figure they’ve seen.
Mobile quarterbacks completely open up a new facet to the game of football. Stopping guys like Newton becomes an entirely new problem in itself. Before Super Bowl XLVII, the Ravens were using Tyrod Taylor and Dennis Dixon in practices leading up to the game so the defense could adjust to Colin Kaepernick and the San Francisco 49ers offense. Unfortunately, things have become even more difficult, as Newton is playing at a Pro Bowl level as a passer alone.
How the Ravens choose to stop Cam Newton will, and should, be game-planned all week long. The Ravens have had plenty of fun challenges thus far in 2018, and their game this Sunday vs. the Panthers will be no different. If Baltimore wants to come away with a win, however, stopping Cam Newton will have to be the team’s top priority.