Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers will face off against the New York Jets in the third week of the NFL preseason. The Panthers and the Jets battle in the second game of a great preseason double-header.
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These teams enter this game heading in two different directions.
The Carolina Panthers have looked exceptional on offense with the first team. Newton looked great against the Dolphins and looks to pick up where he left off a year ago. That type of performance has led some to believe the Panthers have a shot at the Super Bowl, while others believe that he will suffer a sophomore slump and the team will miss the playoffs entirely.
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This game will be a good gauge for the Panthers even though it is just an exhibition outing.
Newton will get a serious challenge when he goes up against a very good Jets secondary. Antonio Cromartie and Darrelle Revis are a tandem that can match up with any wide outs in the game and should have no problem containing the Panthers receivers. This could provide a slow start for the Panthers impressive offense.
The Jets have had some serious struggles on offense as both Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow have had troubles putting points on the board. This could turn around when the face the Panther sunder the Sunday night lights. The pressure is squarely on the Jets to perform, although this is just a preseason game.
The pressure is so severe that Rex Ryan has already benched veteran tackle Wayne Hunter in favor of Austin Howard. This is an attempt to shake up the offensive line and offer more protection to Tebow and Sanchez.
The Jets brought in Tebow during the off-season and have stated that they will feature him in a Wildcat formation this season, but don’t expect too much in the preseason. Tebow will need to do well this year or it could ultimately cost Rex Ryan his job.[poll id="30"]
Ryan has announced that Sanchez will play three quarters and Tebow will play after that. Ryan remains hopeful that Santonio Holmes (rib-cartilage) and Jeremy Kerley (hamstring) will play in Sunday’s preseason game. Holmes took five snaps in 11-on-11 drills on Wednesday in a red non-contact jersey. Kerley participated in 11-on-1s on Wednesday for the first time since getting hurt in the first practice of training camp.
This game will be a statement team for a Jets team eager to show that they will be a contender in 2012. The Panthers second and third units have looked vulnerable in the preseason up to this point. The Jets will have Tebow in late and he will find the end zone as the jets pull away for a big win on Sunday night.
Sunday Night NFL Preseason Picks: New York Jets -2.5