Panthers

Via https://www.charlotteobserver.com

Carolina Panthers (6-2) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-2-1) at Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

NFL Week 10: 8:20 ET on Thursday, November 8, 2018

The Thursday night contest should be a great game as the Carolina Panthers, second in the NFC South division, take on the Pittsburgh Steelers, leaders in the AFC North. Carolina will be looking for their fourth straight victory after defeating Tampa Bay last weekend, 42-28. Pittsburgh has already won four straight and will be looking for number five after they defeated their archrivals, the Baltimore Ravens, 23-16.

Pittsburgh has dominated the series between these two teams, 5-1, including winning the last five games in the series. The last was a 37-19 victory by the Steelers in 2014.

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Carolina Goes for Fourth Straight

The Carolina Panthers won their third straight game on Sunday, using a 21 point second quarter to help catapult them to a 42-28 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Quarterback Cam Newton threw for 247 yards on just 25 passing attempts, completing 19 and adding to touchdowns. The Panthers have now won five of their last six games and find themselves just one game behind the New Orleans Saints for the division lead.

Carolina jumped out to a 14-0 lead in this game thanks to two rushing touchdowns. After Tampa Bay cut the deficit in half, Curtis Samuel raised 33 yards for a touchdown before Christian McCaffrey scored his second touchdown of the game to extend the lead to 21. A Newton 17 yard pass to Greg Olsen for a touchdown made it 35-7 before Tampa Bay would score just before the end of the half. The Buccaneers pulled within seven, but Newton found Samuel for 19 yards and a touchdown to make it 42-28.

The Panthers enter this contest second in the NFL in rushing yards per game at 143.9 but her first and yards per carry at 5.2. This should be an interesting matchup as Pittsburgh ranks sixth in the least yards allowed rushing per game at 90.2 and ninth in least yards per carry average at 4.1.

Carolina is rolling behind their quarterback, as Newton has thrown for 1893 yards and 15 touchdowns. He has completed 67.3% of his passes this season and has just for interceptions while rushing for 342 yards and four touchdowns. McCaffrey not only leads the team in rushing yards with 502 but is also Newton’s number one target, making 49 catches for 378 yards and two scores.

Pittsburgh Rolls to Fourth Straight Victory

The Pittsburgh Steelers earned therefore straight victory on Sunday, avenging an earlier loss to the Baltimore Ravens with a 23-16 victory in Baltimore. Two touchdown passes by quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and a third rushing helped stake Pittsburgh to a 20-6 lead early in the third quarter. Baltimore mounted a late rally but could not overcome the early deficit.

Roethlisberger completed 28 of 47 passes for 270 yards and two touchdowns. James Conner continues to excel as the Steelers primary running back, getting 107 yards on 24 carries.

The victory was the fourth straight for Pittsburgh, who has been rolling through their own division with three straight victories against AFC North teams. Their run began with a 41-17 victory over Atlanta before defeating Cincinnati, Cleveland, and then Baltimore. Pittsburgh has averaged 31 points scored in those four victories and has allowed more than 20 points just one time.

Roethlisberger has been the catalyst to the Pittsburgh offense, throwing for 2560 yards and 16 touchdowns. Conner has looked exceptional as well, leading the NFL in rushing touchdowns with nine while rushing for 706 yards. JuJu Smith-Schuster leads the team with 53 catches for 672 yards and Antonio Brown has nine touchdown receptions.

Trends:

Carolina:

  • 5-0 ATS in their last five games in November.
  • 5-1 ATS in their last six games against teams with a winning record.
  • 1-4 ATS in their last six games on a Thursday.

Pittsburgh:

  • 4-0 ATS in their last four games.
  • 3-0-1 ATS in their last four games on Thursday.
  • 2-7 ATS in their last nine games at home.

The Winner Prediction

This is a battle of two of the hottest teams in the National Football League, which may actually present a quality Thursday night game. These are usually fairly sloppy contests as teams have a minimal amount of time to prepare, but both teams have veteran quarterbacks, experienced coaches, and talented teams.

Either team could win this contest, and it will likely be decided by a field goal. That makes to 3.5 point spread a half-point more than it should be. For that reason take Carolina and the points.

The Pick: Carolina Panthers (+3.5)

The Total

The total is set at 51.5 and that is not surprising at all. Pittsburgh averages 28.4 points per game, ninth best in the league, while Carolina is two places behind at 27.5 points per contest. Neither of these teams ranks in the top 15 in scoring defense, so points should not be a problem. Especially considering that you have two quarterbacks who can improvise should play get a little sloppy.

The Pick: Over 51.5

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