Back in March, Carolina Panthers cut the best offensive player in franchise history – QB Cam Newton.
On Sunday, after a long offseason, Newton signed a one-year deal with the New England Patriots. He is not guaranteed the starting job and must compete with fellow Auburn alum Jarrett Stidham (long presumed to start) and veteran Brian Hoyer.
Assuming Newton starts, there is a lot of unfamiliarity with him and the Patriots’ 2020 schedule. But there’s also a lot of familiarity with the people he faces.
History vs 2020 opponents
In 2020, the Patriots face the AFC West, NFC West, obviously the East, and the Ravens, Texans. The way the NFL schedule rotation works, Cam Newton has had 2 regular season games against the 10 AFC teams.
Overall, Newton is 21-18 against the 13 teams the Patriots will face in 2020.
He is 5-1 against the AFC East. In those 6 games, he completed 108-205 passes (52.6%), for 1,326 yards, 7 touchdown passes, 2 interceptions, plus 228 yards rushing and 2 rushing touchdowns.
Going one step further, he is 2-1 on the road vs AFC East, with the one loss coming to Buffalo in 2013.
In those three games, here is how Newton fared:
- @ MetLife (W – 2017) – 11-28, 168 yards plus 28 yards rush, TD
- @ Buffalo (L – 2013)- 21-38, 229 yards, 2 TD, INT, plus 15 yards rush
- @ Miami (W – 2013)- 19-38, 174 yards, TD, INT, plus 51, TD
Career W/L record by 2020 opponent
Against the AFC West (3-6):
- 0-3 vs Broncos (including Super Bowl 50)
- 0-2 vs Chiefs
- 2-0 vs Chargers
- 1-1 vs Raiders
Against the NFC West (9-10):
- 3-2 vs Cardinals (including 2-0 playoffs)
- 2-6 vs Seahawks (including 1-1 playoffs)
- 3-1 vs 49ers
- 2-1 vs Rams
2019 AFC First Place Finishers
- 1-1 vs Ravens
- 2-0 vs Texans
Patriots face 7 teams on the road, where Newton has played at least 1 game (though the Rams have a new stadium, but they are still included because Cam has played them in LA).
On the road, Newton is 5-4 in his career against 7 of these teams
In addition to the previously noted AFC East, Cam has a win over the Texans and Seahawks and losses to the Chiefs, Rams, and twice to the Seahawks.
In those 6 games, here is how Cam fared:
- @ Texans (W – 2011) – 13-23, 149 yards, 2 TD, plus 55 yards rush (rookie season)
- @ LA Rams (W – 2016) – 20-32, 225 yards, TD
- @ Seattle (1-2 overall) – 57-104, 697 yards, 4 TD, 4 INT, plus 79 yards rushing, TD (3 games combined)
- @ Chiefs (L – 2012) 15-27, 232 yards, 3 TD, plus 78 yards rush
Cam has played just one game in his career in Foxborough – a 33-30 victory during week 4 of the 2017 season (October 1, 2017).
In that game, Newton completed 22-29 passes for 316 yards, 3 TD, INT plus 44 yards rushing and one rush TD.
Overall, Cam is 2-0 against the Patriots (and Tom Brady) in his career.
2016 Playoffs – Run it Back
In 2015, Cam Newton won league MVP in the regular season and led the Panthers to a 15-1 record. He threw for 3,853 yards, 35 touchdowns, 10 interceptions and ran for 636 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Patriots will face all three playoff teams that Cam and the Panthers played in the 2016 playoffs.
First, Panthers beat the Seahawks 31-24. Cam completed 16-22 passes for 161 yards and a touchdown. In the NFC Championship, Panthers blew out the Cardinals 49-15. Cam threw for 335 yards, threw 2 touchdowns, ran for 2 touchdowns.
Cam and the Panthers lost Super Bowl 50 to the Broncos, whom the Patriots play week 5. In the Super Bowl, Newton was awful. He completed just 18 of 41 passes, for 265 yards, 1 interception and led the team in rushing with 45 yards.
Cam Newton will see a handful of familiar faces throughout the 2020 season.
Greg Olsen, Seahawks
Seahawks are the team Cam has faced the most (among 2020 opponents), having seen them 8 times in his career (2-6), including twice in the playoffs (1-1). Week 2, in a rematch of Super Bowl XLIX for the Patriots, Newton will face his longtime tight end Greg Olsen.
After being drafted by the Bears in the first round in 2007, Olsen spent the next 9 years with Cam in Carolina, before both were released earlier this year. Olsen is a 3x Pro Bowler and 2x Second team All-Pro.
Trai Turner, Chargers
Starting alongside Newton and Olsen from 2014-2019, was offensive guard Trai Turner. During his time in Carolina, blocking for Cam, he was named to 5 Pro Bowls and was traded to the Chargers in March.
Patriots may or may not be the favorites to win the AFC East in 2020, but one team that will definitely be a factor is the Bills, or should I call them the Panthers?
While Cam was on the Panthers, these current Bills were also with him
- GM Brandon Beane (Panthers’ director of football operations when Cam was drafted in 2011),
- Head coach Sean McDermott (Panthers defense coordinator from 2011-2016)
- QB coach Ken Dorsey (Cam’s QB coach from 2013-2017)
- DT Vernon Butler (2016-2019)
- DE Bryan Cox Jr (2017-2019)
- LB AJ Klein (2013-2016)
- DT Star Lotulelei (2013-2017)
- OL Daryl Williams (2015-2019 – second team All-Pro blocking for Cam in 2017)
- CB Josh Norman (2012-2015)
I know most of these guys are on defense, but good teammates and leaders (like Cam), still know everyone. Weeks 8 and 16 will be quite the reunion for Cam.
Mike Shula, Broncos
Shula worked with Cam as Panthers QB coach in 2011-2012 and offensive coordinator from 2013-2017, which means Shula was calling the plays during the Panthers two recent playoff runs in 2015 and 2017, which includes Cam’s MVP season. His recent decline in play and injuries have coincidentally with the departure of Shula, who is now QB coach on the Broncos.
Heisman winners: Assuming he starts all 16 games, the 2010 Heisman trophy winner is scheduled for 2 games against 3 other winners – week 10 against 2017 winner Lamar Jackson and 2009 winner Mark Ingram and the Ravens and week 12 against 2018 winner Kyler Murray and the Cardinals.
#1 Picks: Cam, the #1 pick in the 2011 Draft will face Jared Goff (#1 in 2016) and Kyler Murray (#1 in 2019).
Iron Bowl: In college, Cam’s alumni, Auburn, faces Alabama in the annual Iron Bowl, one of the biggest rivals in the sport. Tua Tagovailoa, who helped Alabama win a National Championship in 2018, will (potentially) matchup twice with Newton (winner of the 2011 Championship).
On his way to the 2011 Championship, Auburn beat Alabama 28-27 on the road (after trailing 24-0). 2009 Heisman winner Mark Ingram was held to just 36 yards rushing. Ingram was drafted 28th in 2011 by the Saints. The Saints acquired that pick from the Patriots in a package that ultimately landed the Patriots Chandler Jones in 2012.