By Joe Giordano || Staff Writer
After 10 weeks of the NFL season, only two unbeaten teams remain. The defending champion New England Patriots have come out this season on fire behind Tom Brady and look primed to repeat as champions. In contrast, the Carolina Panthers behind Cam Newton’s breakout season have found themselves in a position no one expected them to be in. After 10 weeks, both teams remain undefeated at 9-0, yet both teams have taken dramatically different routes to get here.
After Tom Brady’s suspension was upheld before the beginning of the season, there was little doubt the Patriots would be on most short lists of Super Bowl contenders. However, few people predicted they would be as dominant as they currently are. Rolling to a 9-0 start, Tom Brady looks as good as he ever has. The Brady-Gronkowski connection is a force to be reckoned with and has left most teams at a loss for how to stop them. The quarterback and tight end have hooked up 49 times for 806 yards and eight touchdowns. The question becomes, how does a team stop this dominant force? The quick answer for many is a strong offensive team due to their perceived defensive weakness. However, this is easier said than done, as nine teams have tried to outscore this prolific offense and nine have come up short.
Over 800 miles south of New England resides the other undefeated team no one expected, the Carolina Panthers. If anyone says they picked the Panthers to be currently sitting at 9-0, they are most likely lying. The Panthers suffered a brutal offseason, losing star wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin to an ACL tear and DeAngelo Williams to free agency, everyone wondered if this team’s prolific defense would be let down each week by a lackluster offense. They must have forgotten about a certain former Heisman trophy winner who claims the title of Panther’s quarterback. Cam Newton has truly stepped up to the plate and is delivering an MVP type season on the way to their undefeated start. With their unquestionable number receiving option being a tight end, Newton has been the brunt of most of Carolina’s offensive workload. The Panthers have adopted a grind-you-out style on both offense and defense that is not typical of most contenders.
However, this is not a typical team. Cam Newton is having a breakout year and wants to keep the zero on the right side of the record for as long as he possibly can. The team most likely to beat this Panthers team is the one to capitalize on their mistakes. While Cam has been phenomenal, he is known to throw interceptions and teams that can capitalize on this have the best chance of ending their undefeated hopes.
While there has only been one undefeated team to run the table in NFL history (1972 Miami Dolphins), the Panthers and Patriots look to change that. While the remaining 10 games will be tough to get through, these teams look like they are up for the challenge. Will we see an undefeated Patriots team meet an undefeated Panthers in the Super Bowl come February or will other teams finally find the recipe to knock off these stellar football teams? We will soon find out.
Sophomore Joe Giordano is a staff writer. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.