Interesting matchup tonight in Charlotte. Two big stories that could come as a result of this one. Subplot here is the Carolina Panthers after the Packers' loss last night have the chance to be in sole possession of the NFC with a win here. For the Colts, a must-win tonight for Chuck Pagano to try to try and save his approval rating in Indy and get back some respect after already landing one of the hottest coaching seats at this point in the season (true story you can find the articles out there already calling it).
Right now the much talked of superbowl run seems to be fading even with them still being in 1st place in the south, and all the upheaval has caused the team to fall way short of expectations. They've had issues protecting Luck and he for his part has not been able to get in his usual groove.
Panthers on the other hand, Newton's played turnover free football, taken what the defenses have given him, and rushed when he's had the chance. And the defense is still solid. But the Panthers this week and next have some things to prove to prove they are a superbowl caliber team.
Things to watch: Colts D vs Greg Olsen - He's been the number 1 target in the passing game. But you have to figure at some point defenses are going to zero in on him and dare Newton to spread the wealth and leave receivers on one on one matchups to see whether he trusts them to go get it or not. Will the Colts decide to do this?
Luck vs Josh Norman - This guy's been the ball hawk on Carolina. Luck so far has been a guy that just will not back down from challenging any defender, one of his strengths but also a bad weakness such as when he attempted to challenge Revis week 1 and paid for it. He may want to try throwing opposite Norman tonight as a different approach.
Chuck Pagano's plan - Will he respond to the heat he's taken by taking a careful and conservative approach to tonight's game, one that has proven all too many times to doom coaches in the middle of a crisis? Or will he take risks to send a message to his team that they came down there to Charlotte to get a win tonight?