“Is it going to be a “Superman” day or a “Hello Kitty” day?” I asked myself at the start of the Panthers-Falcons game last Sunday. And as Week 5 looms, I don’t know what to expect of Cam Newton. But I think I’m almost sure of what kind of day this Sunday will be.
My feelings are a lot different than they were last season. Back then, I had hope. Today, I have doubt. Yeah. I know. Panthers ended their 2011-2012 season at 6-10. But none of that mattered. Last season, I believed in every Newton performance. This season, my heart has drowned with every Newton performance. (Talk about a slow start for the Panthers.) And when considering all the trash talk from other Panthers fans, I realize I haven’t been the only one scrutinizing Newton.
In fact, the frustration with the Panthers quarterback went viral two weeks ago, when the Charlotte Observer mocked him in a controversial cartoon that featured Newton in his “Superman” pose that revealed a Hello Kitty logo on his chest instead of an “S” for Superman. And if that wasn’t thought-provoking enough, Newton’s thought bubble read: “I like to pretend there’s a big ‘S’ on my chest.”
It was one of those pictures you either loved or hated. I don’t think there was an in-between. Regardless of what we thought, I’m sure the picture struck a nerve in Newton. And the criticism could have been the Kryptonite that handicapped him. But it didn’t. Newton soared in Atlanta and had one of the best performances of his NFL career. So as we look ahead to this Sunday’s matchup against the Seahawks, my doubt is slowly eroding.
That’s why I predict a 24-13 victory for the Panthers for three reasons. The Seahawks’ O-line is limited in its ability to withstand Charles Johnson. The 6-ft-2,285 lbs. DE—whom I’ve dubbed, the “Sack Mac”—had a record-breaking 3.5 sack effort in Week 4. No doubt Johnson is looking to up that number in Week 5. Second, the Seahawks' will have to do a lot with its offense to stay in this game. Though the Panthers are 1-3, the defensive effort has been all grit and passion. The Seahawks’ offense will have to find a way to edge the Panthers’ defense by running trick plays and utilizing the cunningness of Russell Wilson. Lastly, Newton is reeling from a regrettable loss to the Falcons. But more importantly, Newton is learning to be a better leader. We witnessed this when he pointed to himself after last week’s costly fumble. And we saw it again when he ditched his sulking-with-towel-over-his-head routine and cheered his defense on as they entered the field in hopes up annihilating the Falcons’ last drive.
When you possess talent and leadership qualities, your stock as a quarterback rises. And in Newton’s case, you also get your “S” back on your chest.
That question I asked in the beginning has an answer. I believe we’re on the verge of another Superman Sunday, with more to come.
Beverly Vereen: Social Media Editor. Feature Writer. SportsAnalyst. Photographer. Publicist. And a Jack Daniels connoisseur. She graduated from the University of NorthCarolina and is a native of North Carolina. She currently resides in Charlotte. Follow her on twitter @iwritergirl. just click on button.