Cam Newton and the New England Patriots gave a poor performance in last week's 18-12 loss to the Denver Broncos. There's no other way to describe it.
Newton was intercepted twice, the Patriots turned the ball over three times overall, and New England's offense failed to score a single touchdown.
But despite all of these Patriots struggles in Week 6, you can bet the San Francisco 49ers are expecting a much better Newton in Sunday's Week 7 matchup at Gillette Stadium.
"The fact he's able to come back (from last season's injuries) and be as effective as he is with the Patriots, and they use him and his skill set really well," 49ers linebacker Fred Warner told reporters Wednesday. "They put him in positions to be successful, and just how big of a body he is, and delivering the football where it needs to be and not being afraid to air it out.
"I know he is going to present a very big challenge for us and we got to make sure we're on top of our details."
Newton has actually fared well against the 49ers throughout his 10-year career. He's 3-0 with 693 passing yards, six touchdowns and three interceptions versus San Francisco.
The passing game is one area where the Patriots need Newton to be better on Sunday afternoon. He's thrown for 871 yards with just two touchdowns and four interceptions through four games. He's been held under 170 passing yards in three of those four matchups.
The 49ers pass defense was elite last season and it's off to another strong start in 2020. San Francisco is allowing the fifth-fewest pass yards (212.7) per game and ranks in the top 10 of several other categories, including opponent completion percentage and opponent QB rating.
The rushing attack is the strength of the Patriots offense, but at some point, Newton and the passing game will need to step up and make some critical plays. If that happens, the Patriots should have a good chance to earn a bounce-back win and keep pace in the AFC East title race.