“The reality of it all is I don’t think more of this team than the New Orleans Saints or the Tampa Bay Buccaneers,” he said.
The other reality of the situation is pretty simple: If the Panthers win against Atlanta, they clinch the NFC South Championship and a first-round playoff bye. Atlanta's 4-11 record and Carolina's 34-10 win earlier this season suggests that wrapping up the conference crown should be pretty easy. Newton, for one, isn’t making that assumption.
“We’re not going to get jaded by the fact of what their record says,” he said. “They have some all-pro players on their team, future Hall-of-Famers on their team and some players that can make a big impact on the game if you don’t control them or contain them. “
Newton did say, however, that he enjoys going home and seeing friends and family. The Atlanta native is 2-3 all-time against the Falcons, including two-straight wins going back to last season.
“When I go back home, no one’s starstruck,” he said. “I go to the same stores, I get my hair cut by the same barber. Nothing has really changed about me.”