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Panthers v Colts is a tale of two quarterbacks

02 Nov | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Panthers v Colts is a tale of two quarterbacks

Two former first draft picks will clash for the first time when the Indianapolis side visit Carolina on Monday night

The Monday night fixture between the Indianapolis Colts and Carolina Panthers sees the first draft pick of 2011 take on the first draft pick of 2012.

What does that tell us?

Well, you would expect both to be half-decent players.

In fact, Cam Newton (of the Panthers) and Andrew Luck (of the Colts) are two of the best quarterbacks in the league, albeit two that are experiencing totally different seasons.

Will the tables turn here or can we expect more of the same?

Cam Newton

Before the season started, Cam Newton and the Panthers weren’t tipped for Super Bowl glory. Hell, they weren’t even tipped to win the division.

You would think that odd since they won the NFC South last year, but it has to be remembered that they did so somehow with a losing 7-8-1 record.

This year, lightning can’t strike twice, right?

Cam Newton was the same, often-wasteful quarterback, hovering around a 50 per cent completion rate, and they’d stumble at the crucial moment. Right?

Wrong. The Panthers decided to ignore all the predictions and are currently sitting pretty with a 6-0 record, leading the NFL in rushing and have a top-10 defence.

They are 1/3 to win on Monday, 8/15 to win the NFC South and 13/2 for the division.

The question of how is a little bit harder.

Newton actually still only has a 56 per cent completion rate this season and nine touchdowns versus seven interceptions.

There is a, sense though, that in his fifth professional NFL season, Newton has developed fully the awareness and game intelligence needed.

His 6ft 5in frame and strong build allows him to move in the pocket and suffer the knocks in the process. This, in turn, gets the offence moving, at which point the top running game in the league can spring into action.

That includes Newton himself, who has four rushing touchdowns of his own.

The Panthers, then, seem good value at 10/11 to score over 26.5 points.

With the combination of running and passing, the Colts defence are going to have a hell of a time on their hands – and will need offensive firepower of their own to have any chance of prevailing.

Step forward, Andrew Luck.

Andrew Luck

On the other side of the coin is the Colts quarterback.

With his team being the ones tipped for post-season glory before the start, they have struggled thus far – drifting to 5/2 for the victory on Monday and a long shot at 25/1 for the Super Bowl.

The calls for a response being needed week after week have grown deafening and, now they’re 3-4, they can be heard loud and clear once more.

Indianapolis gave up a season-high 183 rushing yards last time out as they were pipped by the Saints, and with the previously mentioned strength of Panthers’ rushing game they will be very concerned.

With the pressure that puts on Luck to get them moving, he will need to improve on the two interceptions he also handed New Orleans.

So what are the positives?

Well, for all their travails, Luck has exactly the same completion percentage as Newton and, although on the low side, it is possible to make do with a little.

What’s more, they have outstanding options at receiver and tight-end, as long as he can make use of them.

The simple answer is that Andrew Luck needs to start acting like the Andrew Luck that has terrified the Panthers defence and the rest of the NFL previously.

And there is no better place to do that, and no opponent he will want to do it against more, than against the Panthers.

Colts fans and the media have always joked that ‘Panthers fans should wish they had Andrew Luck’.

Perhaps, just for once, it is the other way round.

Colts @ Panthers betting

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