New England Patriots vs. Carolina Panthers
The New England Patriots head to Carolina on Sunday to square off against Cam Newton and the red hot Panthers. The Panthers are -2.5 point favorites over the Patriots with an over/under point total set at 44.5.
The Carolina Panthers are playing excellent ball right now, as the Panthers are 6-3 on the year, and are coming off an impressive 10-9 win against the San Francisco 49ers. The win over the Niners this past weekend gives the Panthers five straight wins, and in every game but the Niners game, the Panthers have scored 30+ points on the day. Carolina has one of the best defenses in the game right now, ranking second overall against the run, allowing 82 yards per game, and fifth against the pass, allowing 201.3 per outing. This past weekend the Panthers completely shut down the Niners passing attack, and beat the Niners off the line on both sides of the ball. The offense has transitioned somewhat from a spread offense, to a more power ground game, and Newton has transitioned very well. The passing game may not put up real impressive stats, but the wins, and the points are there, and that is all that matters in this league.
The New England Patriots are finally starting to get healthy, and after this bye week, look for the Pats to be the strongest they’ve been all season long. New England has back to back wins coming into Sunday, with wins over the Dolphins and the Steelers. In their latest win against Pittsburgh, the Pats put up 51 points against the Steelers, giving us a reminder that when healthy, the Pats have one of the most dangerous offenses in the league. The one area where the Pats do struggle is on the defensive side of the ball, especially against the run. Teams are averaging 128.2 yards per game against the Pats, and going against Carolina, a team that is good at running the rock, could be a problem for this unit. Belichick will do what he does, and that is take something away from the opposing offense, it will just be interesting to see if that’s the Panthers ground game, forcing Newton to beat them through the air, or vice versa.
The Patriots are just in the black against the spread this season, as the Pats are sitting at 5-4 against the spread. New England is also 1-0 against the spread as an underdog this season.
The Carolina Panthers are 6-3 against the spread this season, and when playing at home, the Panthers are 3-1 against the number.
I have to back the Panthers in this spot. I am giving credit to the Pats, and betting against New England is always taking a risk, but Carolina is playing on par with the best teams in the league right now, on both sides of the ball. The Panthers are doing what really good teams do, and that is beating up on lesser competition, and when faced with a tough physical opponent, the Panthers were able to hang on long enough against the Niners to squeak out a win on the road…going cross country.
I will be playing this game light however, as I am a bit worried about the Panthers having a letdown game here, traveling back across the country after a physical win against the Niners. If it weren’t for the extra day of rest I may take the points with the Pats here…that’s how close I feel this game will be.
Carolina Panthers -2.5 New England Patriots