NFL

Panthers QB Cam Newton could return to top form against Patriots

Are we going to see Superman Cam Newton again?

If it wasn’t for his outrageous game-day outfits, Newton would be just another boring quarterback the way he has been playing since his Super Bowl run and MVP season in 2015. The Panthers quarterback has gone 8-9 in his past 17 starts with 18 interceptions and 21 touchdowns.

Newton, still recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, has turned the ball over seven times this season with four interceptions and three fumbles to go with only two touchdown passes and one on the ground.

But this could be the perfect week for Newton to get back on track with the Panthers (2-1) facing the Patriots (2-1) on the road Sunday. Usually it’s never easy playing in Foxborough, Massachusetts, but the Patriots defense is giving up 331 passing yards per game, the worst in the league.

Last week, Texans rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson torched the Patriots with 301 passing yards and two touchdown passes.

Hopefully for Panthers fans, there will be lots of Superman celebrations from Newton on Sunday.

Struggling AFC North QBs

AFC North quarterbacks Ben Roethlisberger, Joe Flacco, Andy Dalton and DeShone Kizer have combined for 13 touchdowns and 16 interceptions after three games each.

Roethlisberger is playing the best of the bunch with five touchdowns and one interception, but for his standards, the Steelers quarterback had a quiet September. He has yet to hit the 300-yard passing mark in a game, and Pro Football Focus has him ranked 32nd in deep ball category.

Flacco has produced three touchdown passes to four interceptions and has been held to fewer than 200 passing yards twice. The Ravens QB managed only 28 yards against the Jaguars last week in London.

Roethlisberger’s Steelers (2-1) face Flacco’s Ravens (2-1) on Sunday with first place on the line.

Dalton played better in Week 3 versus the Packers after a forgetful first two games. The Bengals quarterback finally found the end zone after being shut out in two home games.

Kizer has shown flashes of being a promising quarterback, but with a lack of weapons, he has thrown seven interceptions. The Bengals (0-3) and Browns (0-3) meet Sunday.

Game of the week: Rams at Cowboys

A year ago, no sane person would be excited to watch the Jeff Fisher-led Rams. But with Sean McVay taking over as coach, the Rams (2-1) are suddenly entertaining. McVay has the Los Angeles offense clicking with a much-improved Jared Goff at quarterback and running back Todd Gurley playing like he did as a rookie in 2015.

The Rams, who have hit the 40-point mark twice this season, go to Jerry’s World on Sunday to face the Cowboys (2-1). Outside of pass rusher Demarcus Lawrence, the Cowboys don’t have much talent on defense. Expect the Rams offense to have another solid performance.

On the other side, Dak Prescott is playing like a top-10 quarterback. The mobile Cowboys quarterback will flourish against a Rams secondary that allowed Brian Hoyer to go off in Week 3.

Bet the over (48½) on this matchup.

Stat of the week

Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch probably won’t be allowed to go full Beast Mode on Sunday against the Broncos’ ferocious run defense. Denver has held Melvin Gordon, Ezekiel Elliott and LeSean McCoy to a combined 83 rushing yards and 2.0 yards per carry this season.

Contact Gilbert Manzano at gmanzano@reviewjournal.com. Follow @GManzano24 on Twitter.

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