This game is really all about containing the run game - if we can keep Carolina from running the ball consistently we can force the game into the air which is where we are MUCH better than them in every aspect: Peyton Manning >> Cam Newton, Thomas, Decker > Steve Smith, Lafell, Denver Oline > Carolina Oline, Miller, Dumervil > Hardy, Johnson, Champ Bailey, Harris > Munnerlyn, Norman.
If this becomes a passing match, we will win it handily. We need to contain Newton early so they can not use planned QB rushes, we need to limit Stewart especially to keep them in 2nd and long and 3rd and long situations.
Our defense has to be in their toes and be ready for lose balls, Newton on average throws 1 pick and drops 1 ball on the ground per game with our pass rush we need to be ready to get those lose balls and errant throws.
On defense Hardy, Johnson and Dwan Edwards provide all the Panthers pass rush so we need our tackles to play well, and they have been all year and we need Koppen and the RBs to help out Ramirez on the inside if Edwards plays. Their secondary does not force a lot of turnovers, they have 5 INTs all year and no player stands out when it comes to defending the pass, so our WRs especially should be able to make plays pretty consistently. Against this 43 front I would expect to see a lot of 2 TE plays to try take advantage of their outside linebackers and safeties, all of which belong in the shallow end of the NFL talent pool.