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Vikings-Panthers prediction

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Posted Oct. 30, 2011 @ 1:54 a.m. ET
By Christian West

This game, featuring two teams with three combined wins, is oddly compelling because of the play of their two rookie quarterbacks.

Cam Newton has taken the league by storm with his surprising play to start this season. Christian Ponder, in his limited action thus far, has given Vikings fans hope about the future.

This game will come down to which defense will have its glaring weaknesses exploited less. The Vikings' secondary is coming off two horrendous efforts with blown coverages galore in losses to the Bears and Packers. The Panthers' run defense hasn't been any better, ranking fourth-worst in the league, and has allowed opposing backs to create explosive plays with poor tackling and bad line play.

In the end, I think the combination of Newton and WR Steve Smith will be too much for Minnesota. The Vikings' secondary has too many holes to fix in one week. Newton and Smith create explosive plays with regularity, and a banged-up secondary won't have any answers. It will be too much for Adrian Peterson to overcome.

Prediction: Panthers 27, Vikings 20

Season record: 2-2

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