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New England Patriots v Carolina Panthers

Source: Lance King / Getty

So things got a lot more interesting for the Panthers this week. What started out as a normal game week against the 8-1 Cardinals turned into the return of Superman.

Former MVP quarterback Cam Newton is back for at least the rest of the season after starter Sam Darnold suffered a shoulder injury that will keep him out at least a month. The move immediately adds some pop to what has been a dismal offense recently. And whether or not he plays Sunday against Arizona, fans and players alike are certainly excited.

“When you hear the Carolina Panthers, you hear Cam Newton,” said cornerback Stephon Gilmore, who played with Newton in New England. “A lot of people are excited to come back and see him play and run around and make plays.”

As of right now, backup P.J. Walker is slated to start against the Cardinal, who have an excellent defense and an ever better offense. They’re averaging nearly 31 points per game behind quarterback Kyler Murray and his bevy of weapons, including All-Pro receiver De’Andre Hopkins, 7-time Pro Bowler A.J. Green, and recently acquired tight end Zach Ertz. The Panthers passing defense ranks second in the NFL allowing just 181 yards a contest, so this should be a good matchup.

Unfortunately, the Panthers run defense isn’t so great, and they’ll be facing one of the hottest backs in the league right now in James Conner.

The former Steeler is the NFL touchdown leader right now, he’s got 10 on the ground and another through the air. “He’s probably one of the best premiere backs this year,” said Panther linebacker Shaq Thompson. “He’s a good route runner, good explosive back, nice little wiggle – and he can hurt you.”

by Sharon Thorsland

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