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In February, the Carolina Panthers fell agonizingly short as they lost to Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl at Levi’s Stadium in San Francisco.

Cam Newton, the regular season MVP, had struggled to cope with Denver’s defensive pressure but vowed to push on and bounce back in the 2016-17 campaign.... but it just hasn’t happened.

After six weeks, Carolina head into their bye with a 1-5 record and Ron Rivera is about to come under some serious flack. On paper, the Panthers are widely regarded as one of the best offensive units in the NFL; however, games aren’t won on paper.Whilst Newton has done his utmost to ensure continuity and success on offense, Carolina just haven’t made the big plays as often as they did last season. And that’s the truth of it.

One of the main reasons for their poor run of form is their troubles on the defensive side of the football. Last year, Carolina had playmakers in the secondary but Charles Tillman and Josh Norman are no longer with the franchise – and that has seriously hindered their ability to keep their opponents at bay.

Norman, who signed with the Washington Redskins during free agency, was a key component last season and Tillman’s experience was also crucial to their success.

So, what can Rivera do to stem the flow? To be honest, not a lot. The Panthers could look for a cornerback or two on the waiver wire but they are unlikely to find anybody with serious talent.

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Their deficiencies are harming the likes of Luke Kuechley too; the Carolina line-backer is no longer able to affect games in the same way – and he certainly isn’t looking like an elite star in this Panthers side.

After their Week 7 bye, Carolina will travel to the west coast for a clash in the desert with the Arizona Cardinals.

Prior to this weekend, Bruce Arians’ side were also struggling but they showed great resilience to beat the New York Jets – as predicted by Betting Sports. In fact, they can keep you updated on the latest NFL news; including previews, tips and reviews on the action.

 Who knows, the Panthers could be a completely different side after their bye week – but it looks unlikely right now. Carolina’s offense is scoring points; that isn’t the issue. However, their torrid secondary is a huge problem and if they continue to leak points, Newton will have to work incredibly hard to win football games.

There’s an old adage in the NFL: defense wins championships – and it is extremely relevant here. Carolina’s problem isn’t unsalvageable just yet but a positive result against the Cardinals in Week 8 is certainly needed....