Buffalo Bills vs. Carolina Panthers
Date and Time: Sunday, September 17, 2017, 1 p.m. ET
Location: Bank of America Stadium
Week 2 Opening NFL Odds at BookMaker.eu: Panthers -7, O/U 42
Bills vs. Panthers TV Coverage: CBS
Buffalo likely put forth what will amount to one of their best showings of the season, yet they were only able to barely cover the closing spread in a 21-12 defeat of the division rival Jets. Those that bought in the week leading up to the game were left hanging their heads with bad numbers after some late steam came in on New York right before kick-off.
Either way, the overall result is one new head coach Sean McDermott likely won’t hang his hat on. The offense racked up over 400 yards of combined offense, yet only turned that yardage into a measly 21 points. Tyrod Taylor performed admirably after battling a concussion in the preseason, but the unit’s 19.4 yard per point average enters Week 2 ranked No. 24. On top of that, the defense barely got any pressure on Josh McCown by registering just one sack and allowing the Jets to convert their only red zone appearance.
Cam Newton threw for 171 yards and completed only 56 percent of his 25 passes, but there were some good things that came out of the offense in the team’s 23-3 pounding of the 49ers. For starters, Newton listened to his coach and limited the rushing attempts only doing so six times. The offense needs its superstar healthy, and if that means hanging out behind the line of scrimmage, so be it.
The second and most important aspect was Newton’s ability to connect with his receivers downfield. He hooked up with Russell Shepard for a 40-yard scoring strike to log the first points of the game. He also hit Kelvin Benjamin in stride for a 25 yard hook-up. The vertical passing game was non-existent in last year’s downer of a season, so it was good to see that aspect of the attack taking baby steps towards returning.
Player to Watch
Carolina held Kyle Shanahan’s passing attack to 166 yards on 35 attempts last week. It’s safe to say the Bills won’t have much success through the air. With that, LeSean McCoy’s ability to give his quarterback some breathing room by excelling in the ground game will be paramount. Shady ripped the Jets for 110 yards on 22 carries last week. That was huge considering the Jets shut him down in a pair of meetings last season. Granted, NY has a much different defensive front than it did a year ago, but we’re thinking positive here! If Buffalo’s running game is shut down, it might give Taylor the inkling to tuck it and run. With him just getting over a concussion, that’s the last thing Bills’ fans want to see against an unforgiving Panthers front seven.
Bills vs. Panthers Picks
It’s tough to get a true feel for how this game will ultimately play out simply due to the fact that both teams won against opponents that will no doubt finish the year ranked amongst the worst in the league. Seriously though, what did the Panthers do last week to have linemakers install them such decided favorites for this Week 2 clash? I get they’re at home, great, but did you know Carolina has only covered one of its last five games played against the AFC and gone a bankroll bursting 2-5 versus the lines at the top 10 online sportsbooks in their last seven home games?
What I do know about Buffalo is that they have a great running game, and that goes a long way when matched up against an offense still trying to find itself. This line is a bit rich for my blood, and the fact that this non-conference rivalry has seen the road team and underdog cover four of the last five times is the icing on the cake. Sorry, but I’m not buying Carolina as a touchdown chalk right meow!
Bills vs. Panthers Week 2 ATS Pick: Bills +7 at BookMaker.eu
Bills vs. Panthers Score Prediction: Panthers 21 – Bills 19