New Orleans Saints vs Carolina Panthers NFL Week 17 Predictions

I know the Saints aren’t starting Drew Brees, and who knows who else they are leaving in the locker room, on the bench, at home, etc., but I still expect them to compete for a win. New Orleans is loaded with position players, and they have enough difference makers that will be playing a lot of the game that I like them as a 8.5 point underdog against the Panthers.

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You have to remember, while the Panthers’ passing attack has been solid over the last few weeks, the heart and soul of that attack is out with a broken arm, and the Panthers are still missing plenty of players that will make a big win tough against New Orleans, even if the Saints are playing a meaningless game after all.

After going 13-0, the Saints have lost 2 straight, and have a chance to go into the playoffs riding their only losing streak of the year – and while that’s not the worst thing that could ever happen, you know New Orleans would like to notch out a win to get back on the right track.

When it comes right down to it, I think Mark Brunell knows enough and is good enough to keep the Saints in the game, and when you’re talking about an 8.5 point spread, that’s exactly what you’re looking for. The Saints have been solid all season long, and a Panthers team that also has nothing to play for doesn’t scare me all that much.

New Orleans Saints (+8.5) @ Carolina Panthers

Carolina Panthers vs New York Giants ATS Pick & Preview

Carolina Panthers vs New York Giants ATS Pick & Preview: Maybe the Panthers are better than I give them credit for. Maybe there’s something to be said for a team as poorly coached and with as crappy quarterback play as they’ve gotten that can still manage a 6-8 record with a 7-7 ATS mark through 14 games. Maybe that secondary that has shut down opposing passing attacks is in fact pretty damn good, and not just lucky. Maybe. But I still don’t think so. Maybe I’m stubborn. Maybe I’m downright overconfident in my ability to accurately judge any given NFL team. Whatever it is, I certainly don’t believe in the Panthers.

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New York has climbed right back into the playoff race with 3 wins in their last 5 games, beating Atlanta, Dallas, and Washington to get to 8-6 with two to go. And right now, they control their own playoff destiny. Like good teams have done in the past, the Giants are playing some of their best football of the season. After losing 4 straight in the middle of the year, New York has started running the ball better and playing better defensively as well. They are still dealing with a lot of injuries, especially in the secondary, but if there’s one team that will have plenty of trouble taking advantage of that dinged up pass-defense, it’s the Panthers.

Listen, it’s nice to see somebody else throwing balls in Carolina, but Matt Moore is an interception waiting to happen, or five. He’s been pretty lucky thus far, but eventually, he’s going to get it for the decisions he makes. Why not this week?

Carolina Panthers @ New York Giants (-7)

Vikings vs Panthers Sunday Night Football Week 15 Picks

Minnesota Vikings vs Carolina Panthers Sunday Night Football Week 15 Pick: The Panthers aren’t very good, but even worse yet, they haven’t been coached very well this year. This team, no matter what the situation, how much time is left on the clock, likes to throw the ball when they are running with success. It baffles me. It pains me to see one of the best rushing attacks in the NFL go to Matt Moore when the game is on the line, when you have DeAngleo Williams and Jonathan Stewart, a good offensive line that has successfully created running room against just about every opponent they’ve played again, when you have a 2nd string quarterback that is amazingly worse than the turnover machine that started the first 10 games of the season. But the Panthers continue to do their due diligence, as they threw the ball more than they ran it last week, despite being down by a score or less for most of the entire game, and having Williams run for about 7 yards per carry, the Panthers did it again. Amazing.

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So how can I put my money on this team? I can’t. The Viking have a very good rushing attack, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they gave the Panthers a little taste of the recipe Carolina should be using. Adrian Peterson looks like a good candidate to gain 150 yards this weekend. The Vikings are very tough up front, and could limit the only thing the Panthers do well.

So, not only is this a terrible match-up for the Panthers, but they haven’t shown any signs of figuring it out. Give me the Vikings and a mere touchdown. Thanks.

Minnesota Vikings (-7) @ Carolina Panthers:

Carolina Panthers vs New England Patriots NFL Free Pick

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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

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Carolina Panthers Week 13 Pick

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Carolina Panthers Week 13 Pick: I think the bettors are falsely in love with the Buccaneers, because as of now, the public percentage rests with the Buccos. The line keeps moving in the other direction however, and when I’m taking a spread that has that kind of backward crazy round about movement, I find comfort in being on the side I’m on here. The public likes Tampa, the smart bets seem to like Carolina, and thus the line moves opposite the masses.

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What the bettors see in Tampa Bay is pretty simple, and I have to respect it at lest a little. They see a team that has won against the spread in 3 of their last 4 games, all of which were quarterbacked by their prized rookie, Josh Freeman. The kid has shown he can make all the throws, and while he hasn’t been deadly accurate, he’s shown an ability to make more plus plays than minus – that’s something Jake Delhomme hasn’t been able to do for the Panthers.

But maybe now that Delhomme is likely to miss Sunday’s game, or at the very lest, likely to be less than 100% as a thrower, the Panthers will do what they should have been doing every single game this season, throwing less than 20 times while running more than 40. Against the Buccos, I have to like that percentage, especially with the running backs and offensive line push-power the Panthers have shown. With Delhomme out, I actually like Carolina more. There’s only a couple situations like that in the league (see Oakland, Detroit, and Buffalo).

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Carolina Panthers (-6)

Carolina Panthers vs New York Jets Free NFL Pick

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Carolina Panthers @ New York Jets (-2.5) Free NFL Pick: This is definitely a battle of, “Watch my quarterback’s interceptions kill our chances to win football games on a weekly basis” and I’m ready to watch with intense disgust. I would blame the rookie and the shriveled vet, but can you really blame Mark Sanchez or Jake Delhomme for the stupid play calling that continues to tally up the passing plays while both teams need to be running it 60% of the time? The answer is no. Whomever calls these plays obviously thinks these two teams can pass better than they do. Thomas Jones and Shonn Greene can do work. They have a good offensive line. DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart might be the most talented running back duo in the league, and their offensive line is usually great, and solid enough without Jordan Gross (out with injury). But still the passes come.

I know the Jets don’t have the stellar run-defense they had earlier in the year. With Kris Jenkins’ move to IR, so went the dominant force in the middle that shut down the run at all costs. But they are a better run-defense than the Panthers, and their secondary is a little more impressive as well. Revis should take away Steve Smith from Delhomme, or rather, Jake might get easily confused and throw the ball to Revis instead of Steve. Either way, it won’t bode well for the Panthers.

In a game that should be close, I’ll take the team I think is better, playing at home, and by less than a field goal. Seems like a deal to me.

Miami Dolphins vs Carolina Panthers Week 11 Free Pick

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Miami Dolphins (+3.5) @ Carolina Panthers Week 11 Free Pick: John Fox, here’s to hoping you blow it again! This week’s Thursday Night Football game on NFL Network pits two of last seasons’ most impressive teams against each-other for a game that promises to have some serious running back action. Ronnie Brown is out for the Dolphins, but don’t think they won’t keep their attack rush-centric, they still have Ricky Williams (who has been awesome this year) as well as running QB Pat White. But I’m thinking this injury might make them more balanced. week in and week out, the Dolphins run more than they pass, and that’s probably the right thing to do (John Fox, pay attention you dope), but Chad Henne has shown me he can throw the ball all over the field. Against a Panther team that is probably getting ready to see the Dolphins carry the ball 40 times, Henne might just be able to hurt them with his arm.

The Dolphins are set up well to hold the Panthers out of the end zone. They give up big passing plays, but are stout against the run, and have made big plays on defense when quarterbacks get fidgety with the ball. Jake Delhomme loves to play around with the pig skin. Both teams have won 4 of their last 6, but Carolina has been beaten in every game they’ve been out-rushed in. I like Miami’s D to allow that to happen.

If the Panthers came out and ran the ball 40 times, I would give them the cover here, but John Fox has repeatedly tried to break defenses at their weakest point, managed to ignore his own running game for long portions of winnable games, and generally has a dumb look on his face the entire time. I think Miami’s the better team, this game should be close, 3.5 points is good enough for me!

Atlanta Falcons vs Carolina Panthers Free Pick & Preview

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Atlanta Falcons (-1) @ Carolina Panthers Free Pick & Preview: Okay, I get it, this is obviously a trap game for the public bettor. And I see what Vegas sees in this one, really, I do, and yes, I’m making my Falcons pick anyway. What does Vegas see, you ask? Well, they see a Falcons team that can’t stop the run, has lucked out lately, and hasn’t really played elite football consistently all season long. They are just 1-3 on the road, and that offense that was supposed to dominate this season – they’ve been out-gained in 3 of the last 4 games and their opponents have gained more yardage through the air in 6 of their last 7 – even Jake Delhomme and the Panthers out-passed Matty Ice and the falcons. But despite all this, the hype train is running at full speed.

Then you have Carolina, a team that can run on anyone and has done so, has played well against two tough teams in two weeks, and are playing at home against a team that can’t stop the run (or pass for that matter). The Falcons are 5-3, the Panthers 3-5, and there you have it, the Panthers have some value at home if you look at it from those perspectives.

But, look out, I’m ignoring those things. I’m ignoring the Panthers 3-1 ATS record in their last 4 games. I’m going with the Falcons because their coaching staff doesn’t get side-tracked into believing they are something they aren’t. They run the ball well, and will do so against Carolina – they pass the ball better than Carolina, and make way fewer mistakes. They don’t do much for me defensively, but that’s okay, because Carolina loves to forget how easy gaining yards on the ground is. They love to become a passing team with the game on the line, and that has led to much failure.

I’ll ignore all that smart betting business for the simple fact that I can trust the Falcons to do the right thing and I can trust the Panthers to screw up a game where they played like the better team. Fair enough? I think so.

Carolina Panthers vs New Orleans Saints Free Pick

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Carolina Panthers (+15) @ New Orleans Saints Free Pick: The value here is with Carolina and it’s because they have an elite rushing attack and any time you give an elite rushing attack 15 points on Sunday, that bet has value.

Because of how the Saints have played, how they’ve come back and covered in games they probably should have lost outright, and that they refuse to lose as one of the two undefeateds left in football, they are hard to bet against. Not only have they been winning, but they are 6-1 ATS – but the Saints haven’t been two touchdown favorites since they played Detroit earlier this season – if that puts how ridiculous this spread is into any perspective for you. Panthers > Lions – believe me.

The Panthers have won 3 of their last 4 games, so what if their first two wins were over Washington and Tampa Bay and a loss to Buffalo is squeezed in there. The bottom line is, last week the Panthers figured it out and fed the ball to DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart, the best running back duo in football.

Why it took this long to keep the ball out of Jake Delhomme’s hands is beyond me, but proving to me that they will run the ball to win is good enough for me to take them as a 15 point underdog, even against this year’s “best team in football”.  62% still like the Saints – come on. The Carolina value is good enough for me.

Carolina Panthers vs Arizona Cardinals Football Pick

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Carolina Panthers @ Arizona Cardinals (-10)Football Pick: Many sharp bettors see this game as great value for the Panthers. They have a rushing attack that should be able to get some yards against an Arizona front 7 that has basically eliminated rushing attacks all season long (ranking #1 in stopping the run) and Arizona is coming off a huge win, almost surely ready for down game. And this line, in my opinion, is too close to wager too much, but I like the Cardinals despite the inflated spread. Definitely, this one can’t be considered a value bet, but that doesn’t mean I don’t expect the Cardinals to cover. What I see from Carolina is a team that should be 0-fer the season. They are only so lucky to have Tampa Bay and Washington in back to back games a couple weeks ago. Anybody that watched either of those games knows that the Bucs and Skins will beat themselves if you just give them time. Carolina tried, but they couldn’t lose those two games. Arizona isn’t going to beat themselves, which could cause trouble for the Panthers’ chances in this one. Arizona has found a bit of a rushing attack with Beanie Wells, and they always have Anquan Boldin, Larry Fitzgerald, Steve Breaston, and a young fella named Kurt Warner to distribute the ball. The Cardinals are a good team, last season wasn’t a fluke. The Panthers are a turnover waiting for Jake Delhomme to happen, and the Cardinals definitely have enough playmakers to take advantage of that. Great value? No sir, but if I have to pick a side, my money would be on Arizona.