The Carolina Panthers are looking for more consistency from Cam Newton and they’re also looking for someone to fill the shoes of defensive leader Luke Kuechly, who exited Thursday night’s game and was placed in the concussion protocol. After sustaining a concussion last season that cost him the final few games of the year, Kuechly will likely be held out of the Week 7 contest against the Chicago Bears.
And the defense could be in serious trouble if his probable replacement David Mayo doesn’t hold up in his new situation. Carolina’s been much better stopping opponents with Kuechly in the lineup and the numbers show it. The Panthers were leading the Eagles 10-3 when Kuechly was injured. They allowed three touchdown passes and 25 points after he departed. The Panthers collected three sacks with Luke in the game. They failed to get to the quarterback afterwards.
After looking like the player that won the 2015 MVP, Newton struggled against the Eagles. He threw 52 passes and had 28 completions, but it was good for just 239 yards. The killer was the interception, three of them to be exact. Two came deep in his own territory with the Eagles cashing in both times on a short field. The turnovers weren’t all Cam’s fault, though. He got hit on one play and Jonathan Stewart let another one get away. Newton was able to make things happen on the ground by running for 71 yards with a touchdown, but the Panthers were held in check by the Eagles. They will need to be more efficient with a defense that will have a gaping hole with Kuechly’s absence.
2017 Record: 4-2
2017 ATS Record: 3-3
2017 Over/Under Total Record: 4-2
Current Super Bowl Odds: +2500
Current Odds to Win NFC: +1100
Current Odds to Win NFC South: +200
Current NFL Odds: Panthers -3
Over/Under Total: 40.5
Week 6: Eagles 28, Panthers 23
ATS Result: Eagles +3
Over/Under Total Result: Over 44
The Panthers did cash the over for a fourth time with a Newton touchdown pass midway through the fourth quarter, pulling them within 28-23. After forcing a punt and getting the ball back a few minutes later, Newton tossed his third interception of the game. Carolina got the ball back again with two minutes remaining, but Newton couldn’t pull out a game-winning drive as the Panthers failed to cover the 3-point spread.
Week 5: Panthers 27, Lions 24
ATS Result: Panthers +2
Over/Under Total Result: Over 42
Newton’s three touchdown passes and a Graham Gano field goal fueled a 24-0 scoring run that gave the Panthers an insurmountable lead. They did have to withstand a pair of Matthew Stafford fourth quarter TD passes and Cam’s biggest pass play came with two minutes left when he converted a third-and-9 with a 17-yard strike to Kelvin Benjamin to close out Carolina’s second straight ATS win.
Week 4: Panthers 33, Patriots 30
ATS Result: Panthers +9
Over/Under Total Result: Over 48
Newton had a breakout game leading the Panthers to the outright win as 9-point dogs. He threw the ball well and hit his open receivers, while running the ball with authority. We hadn’t seen this from him in the first three games. Carolina did surrender a 14-point fourth quarter lead, but Newton, with the help of two defensive penalties, drove his team for the game-winning field goal, leaving no time on the clock for Tom Brady to work his magic.
Week 3: Saints 34, Panthers 13
ATS Result: Saints +5
Over/Under Total Result: Over 46.5
Another poor outing from Newton and a defense that finally caved was enough to give the Panthers their second straight ATS loss. After surrendering a total of six points in their first two games, the Panthers gave up a touchdown on the Saints first drive and watched Drew Brees throw three TDs as Carolina fell from the unbeaten ranks. A late Saints touchdown was enough to cash the over for the first time.
Week 2: Panthers 9, Bills 3
ATS Result: Bills +6.5
Over/Under Total Result: Under 43
It wasn’t pretty but the Panthers got the victory, though they failed to cover the 6.5-point spread. After dominating the Bills all afternoon, the outcome still hung in the balance. With time running out, the Bills misfired on a deep ball that went off the fingertips of the intended receiver inside the Carolina 5-yard line. With defense ruling the field, this one easily cashed the under for the second consecutive game.
Week 1: Panthers 23, 49ers 3
ATS Result: Panthers -4.5
Over/Under Total Result: Under 45.5
The Panthers got exactly what they wanted out of their season-opening win. First, they won the game. Second, Newton was able to chisel off the rust from his non-participation during the preseason. And third, the defense and run game destroyed the Niners. Granted, San Francisco has a huge hill to climb, but things couldn’t have gone better for Carolina. The Panthers turned two turnovers into touchdowns, stopped the Niners on fourth down twice in the first half and led 23-0 before allowing a field goal.
Preseason Record: 2-2
ATS Record: 2-2
Over/Under Total Record: 3-1
The Panthers got off to a horrible start last season and their season was pretty much over by the time they reached the bye in Week 7. They opened with a loss to the Broncos and dropped five of their first six games, failing to cover the spread in each loss. The only victory in that span was a 46-27 trouncing of the Niners in Charlotte. And given their awful record last year, the Panthers can’t overlook San Francisco.
Week 1: Carolina at 49ers, Sunday, Sept. 10, 4:25 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 2: Carolina vs. Bills, Sunday, Sept. 17, 1 p.m. ET – CBS
Week 3: Carolina vs. Saints, Sunday, Sept. 24, 1 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 4: Carolina at Patriots, Sunday, Oct. 1, 1 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 5: Carolina at Lions, Sunday, Oct. 8, 1 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 6: Carolina vs. Eagles, Thursday, Oct. 12, 8:25 p.m. ET – CBS/NFL Network
Week 7: Carolina at Bears, Sunday, Oct. 22, 1 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 8: Carolina at Buccaneers, Sunday, Oct. 29,1 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 9: Carolina vs. Falcons, Sunday Nov. 5, 1 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 10: Carolina vs. Dolphins, Monday, Nov. 13, 8:30 p.m. ET – ESPN
Week 11: Bye Week
Week 12: Carolina at Jets, Sunday, Nov. 26, 1 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 13: Carolina at Saints, Sunday, Dec. 3, 1 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 14: Carolina vs. Vikings, Sunday, Dec. 10, 1 p.m. ET – CBS
Week 15: Carolina vs. Packers, Sunday, Dec. 17, 1 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 16: Carolina vs. Buccaneers, Sunday, Dec. 24, 1 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 17: Carolina at Falcons, Sunday, Dec. 31, 1 p.m. ET – FOX
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