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NFL Betting: Patriots vs Panthers Preview

Posted by Stan Jenkins on 11/16/2013 11:54:02 AM
The Carolina Panthers were 1-3 last month and on the verge of ushering their head coach out of town. Now they’re 6-3 and a very possible Super Bowl contender. A massive game awaits. New England Patriots @ Carolina Panthers Odds: Panthers -1 Total: 46 The Carolina Panthers certainly seemed to be headed nowhere in the 2013 NFL season. At 1-3, head coach Ron Rivera was on the verge of being fired. He was failing to get the most out of his talent, especially franchise quarterback Cam Newton. Carolina continued to lose close games late in regulation, often because of conservative decisions on fourth down and a general unwillingness to trust Newton in important situations. When the Panthers were sitting at 1-3, they began to win games, but it was still very easy to doubt them. They beat poor teams, such as the Minnesota Vikings and St. Louis Rams to get to .500. They then defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Atlanta Falcons to get to 5-3. Before the 2013 season started, Minnesota and Atlanta figured to be really good teams, but they weren’t good at all when Carolina handled them. Yes, the Panthers had been taking care of business, but they still hadn’t made the kind of statement that a true playoff contender makes at some point during the season. That all changed this past Sunday in San Francisco. The Panthers did score only 10 points, but they made those points stand up. A remarkably effective and overpowering defensive effort enabled Carolina to beat the defending NFC champion San Francisco 49ers on the road, 10-9. The Panthers kept the Niners out of the end zone all day long, and their defensive line – the strength of the team by far – kept sacking San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick to blunt the 49ers’ various attempts at scoring drives over the course of the second half. Kicker Graham Gano blasted a 53-yard field goal to give Carolina a late lead, and the defense was able to shut out the 49ers the rest of the way. If this team ever doubted itself, those doubts should now be gone. This team will take the field at home on Monday night before a raucous crowd that will be electric at the possibility of an NFC South Division championship, which is now more than realistic in light of recent events. The Panthers’ pass rush will give New England quarterback Tom Brady a lot to deal with. The Panthers are definitely capable of winning this game. Yet, for all the ways in which Carolina could prevail, New England has been the model franchise in the NFL over the past dozen years for a reason. Head coach Bill Belichick and Brady, his on-field lieutenant, have kept a lot of challengers at bay for a long time. New England knows how to endure this kind of situation, while the moment will be new to Carolina. The Patriots are also coming off a bye week, which will enable them to formulate the right plan to deal with the Panthers’ pass rush. Brady can release the ball quickly to neutralize that pass rush. All in all, expect New England to be ready – ready enough to make the right adjustments in the middle of the game while shutting down the Panthers’ offense. NFL Betting Pick: Patriots Stay tuned into our latest tweets here.


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