Carolina Panthers vs. Washington Redskins
Date and Time: Monday, December 19, 2016, 8:30 p.m. ET
Location: FedEx Field, Landover, MD
Week 15 NFL Odds at BookMaker.eu: Redskins -6.5, 51
Panthers vs. Redskins TV Coverage: ESPN
The Panthers bounced back in a big way after getting embarrassed in Seattle under the Sunday night lights the previous week. Actually let me rephrase that. They dominated for a half against the Chargers but put it in neutral in the second half to pull out the 28-16 win and cover. The offense erupted for 23 first half points but only scored five points the rest of the way. Hardly an effort that allows one to forget about the missed opportunity in Oakland and woodshed beating in front of the 12th Man.
The 2015-16 Panthers were an exceptional football team. They brought the pain on the ground offensively, and then made you earn every single yard defensively. That has not been the case with the 2016-17 edition. Cam Newton has regressed tremendously to the point he killed every fantasy footballer that drafted him to their team. Most disturbing has been the defense that’s allowed nearly 26 points per game and been an absolute sieve defending the pass (No. 30). Why’d they get rid of Josh Norman again?
The defending NFC East champs have some work to do. They currently sit a game in back of both the Giants and loser of the AFC South with only three games remaining on the docket. Luckily for them after this, they only have to travel to Chicago and then get New York at home Week 17 in game that could decide which actually goes to the second season. The Skins have won and covered four of six at home to date.
Washington buckled down in the second half of last week’s win against the Eagles by outscoring them 20-9 in the second half to pull out the 27-22 road win and cover. Kirk Cousins didn’t have an eye-opening performance, but he did just enough in throwing for 234 yards and a couple touchdowns. He did however throw another pick and enters this spot having thrown at least one in each of his last two games. Carolina has picked off opposing quarterbacks 15 times to date, so he better bring his “A” game to stadium Monday night.
Matchup to Watch
Carolina has still done a heck of a job limiting its opposition on the ground with it ranked No. 5 overall against the run. Unfortunately, the Panthers have seen that average spike up to 118.0 yards per game over the last three weeks with Luke Kuechly out of commission due to a concussion. He’s listed as questionable to return, but it’s not likely he does.
His absence will allow Washington to give the Panthers a steady diet of Robert Kelley who’s been pretty quiet since erupting for 137 yards against the Packers the last time Washington played at night. His success will go a long way in making Cousins job that much easier, so make it a point to see if he’s able to go for some big gainers. If he does, deep strikes to DeSean Jackson and Jamison Crowder will be readily available.
Panthers vs. Redskins Free Picks
Carolina made a mockery of the Redskins last season jumping out to a 31-14 first half lead and never looking back. The loss was the fourth straight incurred in this rivalry, and you have to go back to 2009 to find the last time the Redskins covered a game versus the Panthers per the closing NFL odds at BookMaker.eu.
I expect that to change in this spot, and evidently so do some big money players with the betting line jumping up to -6.5 from the -4 opener even though only 53.6 percent of the tickets written are backing the home team. Weather won’t have any effect on this game at all with the temps above freezing with limited wind and no precipitation. Cousins threw for 375 yards and three touchdowns the last time he played at home in a night game; he might end up with the best showing of any quarterback this week. Look for Washington to snap that losing streak and secure a huge must-have win for their playoff push.
Panthers vs. Redskins ATS Pick: Redskins -6.5 at BookMaker.eu
Panthers vs. Redskins Score Prediction: Redskins 45 – Panthers 17