2015 NFL Preview Week 9 – Green Bay at Carolina

The matchup between the Green Bay Packers and Carolina Panthers has a lot a drama, as Green Bay, 6-1, is coming off of their first loss of the season, while the 7-0 Panthers remain as one of only four undefeated teams in the NFL. The Packers lost last week to one of those undefeated NFL clubs, the Denver Broncos, and they are looking to get back on track. But that won’t be easy against the Panthers who managed a big overtime win against the Indianapolis Colts in week eight.

Green Bay

Aaron Rodgers leads what is still the top team in the NFC North. But the Packers have to keep on track, as the Minnesota Vikings at 5-2 are right behind them. Green Bay will play Minnesota in week 10, just two weeks after this game. The Pack lost big to Denver last week, 29-10. Prior to that defeat, they had done well in handling everyone from the Bears to the Chiefs. But, quite honestly, last week’s game was the first big test for this team, and they did not do well at all.

Last week, Rodgers did very little against the Broncos, which has perhaps the best D in the league. It will not be much easier for him against the Panthers, which also puts a solid defense on the field. This week, Rodgers has to connect with his top receivers, James Jones and Randall Cobb. Together, they have a total of 10 TDs. Against the Broncos, Rodgers did not toss one scoring pass. The Packer running game is okay, but it’s the pass attack that’s designed to win games.

Green Bay’s defense has some great numbers, but they were unable to stop Denver last week. Corners Damarius Randall and Sam Shields have to shutdown the Panther receivers. Between them, they have 16 PD and 3 INTs. Julian Peppers and Clay Matthews, who between them have 10 of Green Bay’s 22 sacks, will need to contain the very elusive Cam Newton. Newton is averaging a little over 1 INT per game. The Packer D needs to take advantage of his tendency to make mistakes.

Carolina

Cam Newton is a force to reckoned with. His ability to turn broken plays into big gains is astounding to watch and frustrating for defenses. But he does make mistakes. Newton has 11 TD passes to 8 INTs. He completes just 54% of his passes. The question becomes how does he manage to win games? Part of it has to do with the Panther defense, which is stealer, and the other part with Newton’s ability to run and to make the big play happen. Newton has run for four touchdowns and is averaging 4.5 YPA. But along with those stats is the fact that he has fumbled twice and lost both.

For Carolina, RB Julian Stewart is having a fine year with 505 yards on the ground, three touchdowns and an average gain of 4.0 YPA. The top receivers, with a total of seven TD passes, are Greg Olsen and Ted Ginn Jr. Olsen has 10 catches that have gone for 20 or more yards.

If you’re comparing defenses, you have to say that Carolina’s is a tad better than Green Bay’s. The Panthers have seven forced fumbles, recovering four; 20 sacks; and 17 TFL. They have also pulled off a dozen picks and 45 PD. Top performers include corner Josh Norman (12 PD, 4 INTs, 2 TDs), DT Kawann Short (5 Sacks, 3 TFL, 4 PD), and LB Thomas Davis (59 TKLs, 2 Sacks, 3 TFL, 3 PD, 2 INTs, 1 FF). Davis is the key factor and anchor on this Carolina defense.

Best Bets.

Green Bay is favored at anywhere from minus 3 to minus 2.5. We like the Panthers in this one. The line has been expanding, as the Pack started at minus 1.5. The Carolina defense should be able to put enough pressure on Rodgers to keep the Panthers in the game. Look for Newton and company to pull this one out in the fourth quarter.

The over/under is at 46. In their last five meetings, these teams have been over. The over looks good here. A score of 27- 23 is not out of the question with the Panthers winning outright.

 

November 7, 2015 by : Posted in NFL, Sportsbook No Comments

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