Carolina Panthers vs New England Patriots NFL Free Pick: The reason I like the Panthers more now than I did when their starting quarterback was actually playing is because now they are smarter about their run to pass ratio. With Delhomme, they were playing like they had a starting quarterback in the game, as if his starter status actually made him useful. That was obviously the wrong understanding, and will likely cost John Fox his job some time soon. But now, they’ve become the team they should have been all season long. They run the ball more than they pass. Last week, even without their starting pro-bowl running back healthy enough to play, they ran the ball 33 times to just 20 pass attempts. Perfect. That kind of number makes me love them as a 14 point dog against anyone, even the Patriots.
I also think the Panthers are a solid defensive match-up for what the Patriots do offensively, that’s just another reason why they’re a great big dog bet, because most people don’t even consider that when making their play, and that’s why the Patriots are still getting 56% of the bet – or at least that’s what I think.
I always say that you should never give a good team double digits while betting, and while I’m not saying Carolina is a good team exactly, I do think they are a good team when they run the ball 15 times more than they throw it. It keeps their defense off the field, and keeps their big play ability going. The Panthers intercept a lot of passes, and they have some solid pass rushers. I think the Panthers keep running, and keep playing well in the secondary, that’s definitely good enough for a 14 point underdog.
Carolina Panthers (+14) @ New England Patriots