Cam vs. RG3
The last two Heisman winners square off, with each trying to snap a losing streak. Comparisons between Cam Newton and Robert Griffin III are inevitable, but not really on the mark. Newton is bigger and stronger; Griffin is faster and a more accurate passer. Griffin said this week he would rather be compared to Aaron Rodgers than Newton, who has yet to direct a signature, game-winning drive. The Panthers defensive ends will have the task of trying to contain Griffin on the zone read, the same package that Carolina has begun to de-emphasize.
Will the offense show up?
The Panthers offense showed signs of life against the Bears, accumulating 416 yards. But the Panthers settled for too many field goals, and had a killer turnover when Steve Smith slipped in a route. Ron Rivera has gone to a more traditional rushing attack behind Jonathan Stewart. Washington is vulnerable against the pass, allowing a league-worst 314 yards a game. With Brandon LaFell (head) doubtful to play, Steve Smith will face extra coverage.
The Panthers have shown no ability to finish a game, dropping their last four by a combined 12 points. Riveras game management was questioned last week after he opted against a 50-yard field goal try at the end of the first half. And Rivera and defensive coordinator Sean McDermott kept the secondary in a soft zone coverage as Jay Cutler completed a series of slants on a game-winning field goal drive. Rivera needs to coach like he has nothing to lose. Joseph Person