Carolina Panthers vs Chicago Bears
What exactly happened to Newton in the offseason? His on field stats are nothing compared to his rookie season and even his off the field antics are raising eyebrows. It’s as though RG3 stole Newton’s magic binkie, leaving him crying like a toddler. Whatever the issue may be, he needs to getover it quickly or he’ll face a huge drop-off in value for not only the rest of this season but 2013 as well.
Things could be getting a lot worse in Carolina very quickly as the owner is making brash decisions and changing the team dynamic. Part of the team dynamic will be what do they do moving ahead? One player that directly effects is Steve Smith. Smith isn’t going to be elite much longer. It’s rare for a quarterback to have such a talent at his disposal and the window is closing. With new moves under way and the desire to move in a different direction, Smith could be sent packing at season’s end. Newton has to prove that the team is still competitive enough to be in a win now situation to avoid a complete remodeling. If you think Newton’s stats are bad this season what do you think they’d look like without their leading receiver?
San Diego Chargers vs Cleveland Browns
Gordon is now the receiver that many thought fellow teammate Greg Little would be. Saying that the rookie receiver has been the home run option for Weeden would be an understatement. It would be more accurate to say that Gordon has been Albert Pujols-like in the home run category over the past few weeks.
The long touchdowns continue to add up as defenses are having a difficult time matching up against his speed. As always, with newly established players though, owners want to see more production before they fully trust these new commodities. If Gordon can continue his big play ways against the Chargers, his stock would continue to rise.
The Browns could have a very young, but talented, offense on their hands that could really turn into something dynamic moving forward. Gordon will be asked to play a large role in establishing that dynamic and could answer the call again here in Week 8. The Browns are always playing from behind which bodes well for speedy receivers with big play ability.
Seattle Seahawks vs Detroit Lions
It’s nothing short of mindboggling that Megatron has one lone touchdown on the year. Given his size, speed, and flat out monster talent, Johnson should have seven times that amount at this point. While it’s true that Matthew Stafford has regressed in a big way in 2012, it’s also true that we had Johnson labeled as being quarterback-proof. The Lions’ big weapon has put up top tier numbers with the likes of Shaun Hill, Jon Kitna, and Drew Stanton at quarterback.
Stafford is certainly a far superior talent than those aforementioned names by leaps and bounds, yet he can’t connect with the stud receiver this year. Defenses are keying on Megatron in a big way as they don’t fear the run or Stafford’s ability to locate alternate receivers. And to make things worse, Nate Burleson is now done for the season with a broken leg, lessening defensive attention on the secondary receiving options even further.
Targets from Stafford will clearly be on the way up but so will coverage. Is Calvin Johnson the end all, be all, best receiver in the NFL? If so, he’ll be able to break that coverage and pile up stats with what should be the heaviest receiver workload in the league. We’re about to find out just how elite Calvin Johnson is.