1. NEWTON, LUCK SQUARE OFF AT LAST: Quarterbacks Cam Newton and Andrew Luck have indirectly competed against each other since both were finalists for the Heisman Trophy following the 2010 season.
Newton said that competition – even as indirect as it has been - has helped make him the quarterback he is today.
"I'm a fan of the game and a student of the game, and I really appreciate people who are great at what they do," said Newton, who will directly compete against Luck for the first time when the Panthers welcome the Indianapolis Colts for Monday Night Football. "Andrew is one of those guys that makes me be at my best. At the same time he's my competition, but competition brings out the best in all of us."
Newton, who won the Heisman Trophy in 2010 – the first of two years in which Luck was runner-up – also got to spend some time with Luck at the Pro Bowl following the 2013 season. They were on the same team, in fact, as a part of the inaugural Pro Bowl draft.
"That was fun," Luck said. "I admire him greatly as a person and a football player.
"He's one of the premier quarterbacks in the NFL. I've caught snippets of highlights this year, and it looks like he's playing on fire."
2. READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL: The meeting between the No. 1 overall picks in the 2011 and 2012 NFL drafts will be made even more special by the fact that it's on Monday Night Football.
"When you hear the 'dun, dun, dun, dun,' that little tone embellishes what football is all about," Newton said, offering up a spot-on rendition of Monday Night Football's long-running theme song. "It puts us all in that childlike mode and remembering the first time we witnessed Monday Night Football - from John Madden to everything else.
"It's like a dream come true for me, anytime I have an opportunity to play this game on a national stage and inspire people."
Newton is 2-1 on Monday Night Football. Luck is 1-3.
3. DADDY-O DELIVERING: Continuity plays a part in the recent run of success for Newton, who shares the offensive huddle at the start of game with familiar faces from previous seasons.
The one newcomer – left tackle Michael Oher – has fit right in and is playing a big role in the Panthers' winning ways.
"When I talked to him trying to sway him to come here, you could hear it in his voice," Newton said. "Michael was just coming of an injured season, and he just wanted to win. I'm thankful to have a guy like him and thankful that we're having the season that we're having."
Oher, who didn't miss a single game in his first five NFL seasons with the Baltimore Ravens, was hampered and eventually sidelined by a toe injury last year in Tennessee. Now with the Panthers, he has seamlessly joined a line that features four returning starters.
"He has brought this chip, this attitude and this savvy that I wouldn't say has been lacking, but he's put that in overdrive along with (center Ryan) Kalil," Newton said. "We've got young guys who are looking for guys to follow. Michael Oher and Ryan Kalil offer an unbelievable influence that those guys need.
"When everybody is scrambling to spend time with their families, those guys are putting in overtime to make my life easier, to make [Jonathan Stewart's] life easier. That's a winning combination that people don't necessarily see that is paying big dividends."
View photos from the Panthers' week of practice leading up to their game versus the Colts.