Quick Take: Newton vies to avoid sophomore slump

NFL.com and NFL Network reporter Ian Rapoport has his thoughts on the game:

Why this game is intriguing: This game really should be more highly ranked, but the other two teams in the NFC South are still relegated to B-side status. For now. We'll watch with interest to see whether Cam Newton can avoid a sophomore slump. He'll begin that challenge against an intriguing Buccaneers team that could be a surprise success in 2012. They have restocked with talent, like free agent Vincent Jackson, and new coach Greg Schiano has brought fundamentals to the forefront. Tampa Bay has come a long way in a short time.

What to watch: Newton is always great to watch, primarily because he does things most passers aren't capable of. But all eyes will also be on the Panthers D. Assuming Jon Beason is healthy, how much improvement can defensive-minded coach Ron Rivera coax out of this unit? Carolina's defenders don't face an easy task, and not just because no one can really cover Jackson. It's also because Bucs rookie running back Doug Martin has drawn rave reviews.

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