Carolina Panthers vs. Washington Redskins
After losing to division rival Philadelphia, the Washington Redskins made the NFC a muddled bunch. They can get back to first place with a win this Sunday over the Carolina Panthers. The Panthers are -2.5 point favorites over the Redskins with an over/under point total set at 44.
Washington fell behind 20-0 against a desperate Eagles team and could not catch up in a 20-13 loss. Rex Grossman played like a vintage Rex Grossman-poorly. The University of Florida alumnus was 9 for 22 with four interceptions and an abysmal 23.7 quarterback rating. John Beck was finally subbed in on the last possession and was able to produce a touchdown drive in garbage time. The running game wasn’t much better, as the Redskins were held to 42 yards (3 yards per carry). Washington’s strength continues to be its defense. After a slow start, the unit pitched a shut out against Philadelphia in the second half.
Down South, the Panthers had to deal with its own quarterback struggles. Cam Newton played like rookie and tossed three interceptions in a 31-17 loss to Atlanta. Carolina hung tough for the first three quarters as Newton’s 14 yard TD run put his team up 17-14 entering the final quarter. But the Falcons blanked them 17-0 in the fourth to shut the door on their division rivals. Michael Turner (139 yards, 2TDs) had a big day against Carolina’s struggling defense.
That defense will face a similarly weak offense this Sunday against the Washington Redskins. Washington is 23rd in scoring offense, while Carolina ranks 28th in scoring defense. Mike Shanahan has not announced his starting quarterback for the game, but this much we already know: It will be either Rex Grossman (46 TDs, 49 INTs), or John Beck- who wasn’t good enough to beat him out in the preseason.
The juicier match-up will occur when the Panther’s offense faces the Redskins defense. The Newton to Steve Smith combo has been one of the most exciting tandems this season, and the offense can be tough when the running game gets it going. Meanwhile, Washington has been terrific on defense, allowing just 16.6 points per game. However, I think they will come up short this week. The Redskins overachieved a little at the beginning of the season. The offense has been an issue for what seems like several years, as it just does not have enough explosive players. Carolina’s lost some tough games, but I think they get in the win column this week for the second time this season. The Panthers win and cover in a relatively close contest.
Carolina Panthers -2.5 Washington Redskins