1. Jake Delhomme started at QB for one of my fantasy teams last week and had a downright brutal performance, throwing four interceptions against the lowly Raiders. What on earth happened?
Cat Scratch Reader: Jake simply had a terrible day which I painfully point out in a film review I put up on Thursday. He was just missing his targets and missing them badly. We will have to hope that whatever he did during preparation doesn't happen again. Also, I would never play Jake in fantasy because he's too inconsistent (as I'm sure you learned last week).
2. The Panthers have a game lead in the NFC South over Tampa Bay and Atlanta. Do you think the Panthers can hold on to their lead and win the division?
CSR: I certainly like to think so. Truthfully I'm just as worried about ATL as I am the Bucs since we go to ATL next week. They are playing well whereas the Bucs offense doesn't scare me. If the Panthers can avoid bad turnovers (unlike in their two losses) they should be able to put up at least 11 wins and a division title.
3. Aside from Julius Peppers, which other Panthers defensive player should Lions fans keep an eye on?
CSR: 2nd year MLB Jon Beason is having a Pro Bowl year, though with Patrick Willis in the conference he may not actually get the selection. Back-up DE Charles Johnson is making noise in the pass rush and CB Chris Gamble is easily having his best year.
4. How have the Panthers' two first-round picks from this year's draft, Jonathan Stewart and Jeff Otah, played this season?
CSR: RT Jeff Otah just got back on the field after missing three games with an ankle injury. Prior to the injury he looked great in run blocking and adequate in pass blocking. We are still very happy with that pick and not regretting the price paid. Stewart has looked great at times and average at others. Of course his backfield mate DeAngelo Williams is tearing it up so Stewart has not had the pressure to perform. He's also nursing a toe injury so you won't see much of him this Sunday, maybe 6-8 touches I bet. Stewart has flashed a ton of potential as a speedy power back so we still expect big things from him.
5. Do you think the Panthers can make a run at the Super Bowl this season?
CSR: Do I think it's possible? Sure. Is it likely? Not so much. The Giants and the Steelers before them showed that if a team gets hot in the playoffs they can get it done. I do think the Panthers have the offensive balance and the tenacity on defense to win the Super Bowl this year. But for that to happen they will need to avoid key injuries and game changing turnovers. In their two losses they let turnovers turn into points that changed the momentum of the game so much they couldn't recover. The offense has also struggled at times to move the ball against good run defenses. That part worries me but that is also why they have earned the "Cardiac Cats" moniker from their home crowd. They always like to make it exciting.