Originally written on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 11/17/14
Before making his debut in the NFL, Panthers quarterback Cam Newton had never lost a game. Since Newton’s gotten to the big stage, his record is 5-18.  This week against Chicago, it looked like Newton would get NFL win number six, but Carolina once again snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, losing 23-22. Many have credited the Bears with a hard-fought comeback win, but this game was nothing short of a meltdown for Cam and the Panthers. Carolina scored 19 unanswered points to lead 19-7 midway through the fourth quarter.  It looked as though the Panthers would finally get a big win on the road, but then the game changed drastically.  First, Carolina punter Brad Nortman shanked a punt just six yards, giving Chicago great field position.  Then, Jay Cutler hit his tight end Kellen Davis for a 12-yard score. And it gets worse. Still leading 19-14 with less than seven minutes remaining, the Panthers’ very next play from scrimmage was a Tim Jennings pick six. Still determined to win, Newton rallied the troops and led the offense on the go-ahead field goal drive to reclaim the lead.  Unfortunately, Cutler immediately followed suit, and the Panthers were forced to swallow another tough defeat. Other headlines are as follows: The Denver Broncos are looking like a championship team, Indianapolis continues to find ways to win, San Diego is terrible, and Atlanta remained undefeated on the road against favored Philadelphia. I’ll talk about Atlanta first, because they continue to win despite many critics’ dismissals.  I picked this team to win their division and go to the Super Bowl before the start of this season, and am standing by that pick.  This team can run, pass, and play defense.  They have two of the best wideouts in the game in Julio Jones and Roddy White, and not to mention a tight end who is a first ballot Hall of Famer. I know the Falcons have looked rough in a game or two this year (Oakland), but they continue to win and Matt Ryan continues to prove he’s one of the league’s premier quarterbacks. So I’ve picked the Falcons from the NFC, how about Denver in the AFC? Sorry Broncos fans, but I don’t see Denver winning the AFC this year.  They certainly have played good football the past two weeks, and will definitely win the AFC West (I’ll get to the Chargers next).  That said, I think that Houston is the cream of the AFC crop, with Denver, Pittsburgh, and New England on the next tier.  Sorry Baltimore; no Lewis and Webb equals no playoffs this year, although the AFC is pretty bad; they could easily grab a wild card. And speaking of the AFC being bad, that brings me to the San Diego Chargers.  After losing 6-7 to the now 2-6 Cleveland Browns this Sunday, the Chargers can officially be left for dead.  Now at 3-4, the Bolts have lost faith in their quarterback, and I don’t think even Phillip Rivers believes anymore. The fighting Pagano’s did it again this week, beating the Tennessee Titans in an overtime battle 19-13.  The Colts took full advantage of the new overtime rule, scoring the game-winning touchdown less than five minutes into overtime.  Now at 4-3 the Colts may be a force to be reckoned with in the AFC once again.   Follow me on twitter @ScottPeceny

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