The Number One Pick Gang

NFC Game Of The Week

Carolina Panthers at Washington Redskins

Panthers: If I’m them right now, I’m smiling from one side to the other because it’s basically a two-team race at this point. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have come back down to reality and the Atlanta Falcons are struggling and that’s what happens when you have injuries to some key players on your team. The Panthers are sitting at 3-1 and in second place in the NFC South looking up to the New Orleans Saints. It seems like I’m always defending Cam Newton and his performances as of late and I need to be real not just with you, but myself because he’s been an average quarterback at best. When he had the best season of his career in 2015 when he was awarded league MVP, I finally said to myself he’s finally put it all together and this is what I’ve been needing to see. As I said up top, he’s still average right now and I’ve used the excuse that his offensive line has been horrible at times, but when he’s had time to throw the football, he’s looked shaky at times. I think he’s just a great athlete trying to be a quarterback. The Panthers have finally gone back to running the ball which could help ease the load off Cam and Christian McCaffrey is leading the way with 329 yards on 63 carries. For a team that’s been so defensively stout, they’ve been struggling some this year even with a healthy Luke Kuechly on the field. They’ll look for their first road win of the season in Landover on Sunday.

Redskins: So, there’s a positive and a negative to what happened this weekend in the NFC East. The negative is that all four teams lost. The positive, well the positives are that the division is wide open at the moment right now and the Washington Redskins are still in the hunt for the division. I was one of the people that questioned the Washington Redskins on deciding not to bring back Kirk Cousins but when I watch Alex Smith play, I now see why they decided to move on from him. He’s been great for the Redskins so far completing 66 percent of his passes with four touchdown passes and two interceptions. I think it’s safe to say he’s gone back to his game manager ways because of Washington’s ground game which is averaging 137 yards per game behind the rejuvenation of Adrian Peterson. I’ll never understand why people have written Adrian Peterson off. I understand that he isn’t the same guy he was for the Vikings all those years ago, but when he’s being used the correct way and he’s getting his touches, he’s still an effective player. The Redskins have also played good defense for most of the year (except for Monday night). To stay within the NFC East race, they’ll look to get back to .500 on Sunday with the Panthers in town.

Panthers Player To Watch: Dontari Poe– He’s been one of the best when it comes to stopping the run in the middle. This Panthers defense is loaded with talent. You have Short, Kuechly, Thomas Davis, Eric Reid and Dontari Poe. Shocked to see they’ve been giving up so many points so far this year, but it’s still early.

Redskins Player To Watch: Jamison Crowder– A running back shouldn’t be your leading receiver, plain and simple. One of these receivers needs to create space on the outside and I’ve seen Jamison get open to make a play or two down the field.

Final Analysis: This game will mark the second time that Josh Norman will face his former team. This is also a really interesting quarterback battle between two quarterbacks who were both selected first overall in their drafts classes in Cam Newton and Alex Smith. The Redskins defense really needs to regroup after a terrible performance on Monday night. The Panthers need to try to take advantage of this game with the Saints on their bye week.

Prediction: Redskins 27 Panthers 24