By Juan Carlos Dorantes
Week 11 of the 2021 NFL Season brings us a duel between Washington (3-6) and Panthers (5-5) where both teams arrive with a great emotional boost. On the side of the WFT, they come from defeating the current NFL champion, Tom Brady’s Buccaneers. For her part, Carolina comes to this meeting after having defeated and surprised the Cardinals in Week 10.
However, the extra touch that this encounter provides comes from a battle between old acquaintances. Everything indicates that the starting quarterback of the Panthers this coming Sunday will be QB Cam Newton, who will face his former head coach Ron Rivera, the one who selected him with the No. 1 overall pick of the 2011 NFL Draft. This is all you need know about the tonic.
Imminent roster changes
Both teams arrive in different situations. In Washington, led by HC Ron Rivera, they lost last week what was probably their best defensive man: DE Chase Young, who suffered a torn ACL. However, some computers lose items, others recover.
In Carolina, since the previous weekend, they already have Cam Newton, a recently hired quarterback taken out of free agency but who is a true figure and legend for the Panthers franchise due to the fact that between 2011 and 2019, from more to less, one of the leading teams in the NFL returned to this. Without a doubt, Newton’s presence combined with Young’s absence could have a very significant impact on this encounter.
Vastly Different Offensive Plans
Referring to the Panthers, after losing QB Sam Darnold through injury, everything seems to have improved. His offense has gotten into rhythm with the mix of QB2 PJ Walker and Newton. Also, those directed by Matt Rhule they plan on eventually Newton becoming the starter of this teamBut it’s impossible to deny that since he just joined the roster, he still needs to get into the offensive system before he is sent full-time to the field.
Therefore, it should not surprise locals or strangers that Carolina implements – more than the previous week – a type of offense where both of her quarterbacks share offensive series. But come as it happens, one thing is clear: Darnold’s days on this team are numbered. It is notable that this offense looked different and better without him in the center.
Another point that cannot be overlooked is that, for the moment, the Panthers’ stellar running back, Christian McCaffrey, is healthy and is one of the fundamental pieces that moves this attack, both on the ground and occasionally in the air. . Combining McCaffrey’s looming ball-carrying talent with Cam Newton’s versatility and Young’s aforementioned absence, the WFT could be in trouble.
Ron Rivera, an old acquaintance
However, if anyone knows how Newton behaves, it is Washington head coach Ron Rivera, who between 2011 and 2019 managed the Panthers and spent plenty of time with the quarterback. He accompanied him and watched him grow from his rookie season, going through the MVP in 2015, until, in the midst of a handful of injuries, in 2019 Carolina finally decided to dispense with Newton’s services. However, also that same year, after a 5-7 start, Rivera was fired from the team to no one’s surprise.
Now it will be that same Rivera who seeks to demonstrate that his offense not only gives excellent games when they face the Buccaneers, and that, in other games, they have not managed to have that impact and decisive fang to carry forward the victory. And it certainly looks tough this Sunday as Carolina’s defense is the sixth best in the NFL in average points allowed per game (19.3) and fourth best in sacks (27). While the Football Team offense is very intermittent and we do not know in which version they will come out.
Finally, this game has all the seasonings to, in theory, be won by the Panthers. They are going through a better time both mentally and on the field, and with Cam on the roster they can innovate and be more creative with his playbook despite the fact that Rivera knows him perfectly. Thus, Carolina will try to preserve that seventh and last postseason access position as Wild Card in the NFC, while the WFT needs to get into rhythm if it intends to try to get to the Playoffs.
Can the Panthers prevail to try to sneak into the postseason? Can Ron Rivera come up with a perfect defensive game to get the victory?
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Washington vs Panthers: Cam Newton welcomes his mentor, Ron Rivera