2015 NFL Monday Night Football Preview – Colts at Panthers

In Week 8 of the 2015 NFL season the Monday Night Football matchup has the 3-4 Indianapolis Colts visiting the perfect 6-0 Carolina Panthers. The Panthers are favored by 7.5 and the over/under is at 46.5.

In essence, this will be a battle between one team that is struggling to find consistency, the Colts, and another that is looking to continue to build on its success, the Panthers. Carolina has proven to been very tough on defense, allowing opponents just 18.3 PPG, while the Colt D has, in the past two weeks, had a hard time containing teams for a full sixty minutes.

Indianapolis Offense vs. Panthers Defense

QB Andrew Luck, now in his fourth NFL season, has had a rough time of late. His stats are not good at all. With a QB rating of 76.2 and a pass completion rate at 56.2%, he is struggling. He has thrown nine picks and has 11 touchdown passes.

Luck’s got some premium receivers to throw to, including wide outs T.Y Hilton (37 REC, 606 YDs, 16.4 AVG) and Donte Moncrief (34 REC, 381 YDs, 11.2 AVG). Hilton’s caught three scores and has had nine catches for 20-plus yards, while Moncrief has caught five touchdown passes and has had five catches for more that 20 yards. On the ground, the Colts rely on RB Frank Gore (98 ATT, 446 YDs, 4.6 AVG). Gore, who has three touchdowns, has fumbled and lost the ball twice.

Carolina has a very fine defense that’s able to generate sacks, forced fumbles, and picks. The defense has 18 sacks, 13 TFL, 9 INTs, and 5 FFs. DE Kawann Short is one tough competitor. He leads the club with five sacks and also has three tackles for a loss. LB Thomas Davis does it all. Along with two sacks and three tackles for a loss, he has three passes defended, two interceptions, and one forced fumble. He also leads the club in solo tackles with 41 and assists with 16. He is the keystone of this effective defense.

Carolina Offense vs. Colts Defense

Cam Newton’s stats are not that good, but somehow he manages to get the job done. One reason as to why he’s succeeding this season has to do with his ability to turn a broken play into a big gainer. He is an expert at going back to pass and, when his receivers are covered, seeing the opening and using his speed to take advantage of that open field. He has nine passing touchdowns and four rushing. Newton is averaging 4.5 YPA.

The quarterback does a good job of utilizing TE Greg Olsen (27 REC, 439 YDs, 16.3 AVG.). Olsen has three touchdowns. Another important member of the pass catching squad is WR Ten Ginn Jr. (18 REC 283 YDs 15.7 AVG.), who also has three scores. Together the duo has 13 catches of 20-plus yards. Giving the offense some balance is RB Jonathan Stewart who has two touchdowns and is averaging 4.1 YPA.

The best part of the Colt defense is probably their pass coverage, and yet it is not that good. It’s true that they have some guys who can pick off passes and who defend well, but they also give up on average almost 300 yards per game. Plus, opposing defenses are outperforming them. The frontline on this squad needs shoring up. LB D’Qwell Jackson, who has five tackles for a loss, will need to step up and play a major role on Monday night.

Other Considerations

The Colts have lost their last two games. Two weeks ago, they were defeated by New England 34-27. However, if you bet Indy with the spread on that one, you won that game. Last week, they lost to New Orleans 27-21. The Colts were 5.5-point favorites, which means they did not cover.

On the flip side, Carolina continued its winning ways and also covered both of its games. Two weeks ago, they took down Seattle 27-23 in a game in which they were 7-point underdogs. The next week, they met a tough Eagles club, beating them 27-16 and easily covering the 3-point spread. By the way, the Panthers have been good on the spread in their last three contests and in their last four of five.

Best Bets

Looking at this game from a defensive posture, the edge goes to Carolina. They are performing exceptionally well. Also, QB Newton has his offense generating points, at an average of six more a game than Luck and company. Plus, the Panthers are at home.

It’s a big spread, but on the Monday Night Football stage, we expect Carolina to be ready and able to show everyone exactly how good they are. The Panthers take this game by 10 points. The over/under seems tight on this one. We are taking the under.

November 2, 2015 by : Posted in NFL, Sportsbook No Comments

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