Seahawks vs. Panthers: Cam Newton stands between Seattle and the Rams

Kevin Liles-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

For the first time in a while, there could be an NFC West team looking up at the St. Louis Rams at the end of the week.

Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers are currently 1-3 and Newton himself has five interceptions, which goes part of the way toward explaining why everybody's favorite rookie last year has turned into a pariah among a certain subset of glitz-hating football fans and impatient Panthers-holics. But as the Seattle Seahawks come into town Sunday afternoon, there's still plenty to recommend Newton and company. For instance: He's averaged a startling 9.5 yards per pass attempt this year, which leads the NFL.

It's hard to reconcile that with the Panthers' 24th-ranked offense, though you could do worse than starting with less-than-stellar starts from DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart, the Panthers' other two star rushers. The picture here in Week 5 is a team with phenomenal offensive talent that hasn't quite gotten untracked yet.

If they do, the Seahawks will have trouble. Until Russell Wilson gets settled enough to be trusted with a larger role, Seattle's offense is dependent almost entirely on Marshawn Lynch, a plan that mostly worked against the St. Louis Rams but could be untenable if the Panthers get out to an early lead. And if it is untenable—well, for the first time in a while, the Rams won't be last in the NFC West. Which'll be nice.

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