Perhaps one of the reasons Chiefs pass rusher Justin Houston expects to dominate upon his return is his expertise in sacking Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, in particular.
Houston told reporters in Kansas City on Thursday that he believes he's the only player in the NFL who has sacked Newton in high school, college and professional football. ESPN Stats confirmed that Houston, Da'Quan Bowers, Marcell Dareus and Fletcher Cox are the only current NFLers who have sacked Newton in both college and the pros. Houston appears to be the only one who played high school in the same vicinity, therefore making him the standalone expert.
Interestingly enough, the Chiefs' pass rush have the chance to effectively end, or at least seriously damage, Carolina's season on Sunday. Although Houston likely won't play in the game, the Chiefs could create plenty of problems for Carolina. At 3-5, the Panthers don't have much of a margin for error heading into a Sunday-Thursday turnaround with two games over the next week. On Nov. 17, they host the division-rival Saints at home in Charlotte.
After losing to almost every team with a half-decent pass rush throughout their first six games of the season, Carolina rebounded with wins over the Rams and Cardinals. Their Achilles' heel -- protecting Cam Newton -- is still visible, though, and Chiefs defensive coordinator Bob Sutton has done an excellent job of freeing up his most agile rushers to get into the backfield. Dee Ford, a perennially disappointing first-round pick, is currently fourth in the league with nine sacks in Houston's absence.