Carolina Panthers (3-1 SU, 2-2 ATS, 1-3 O/U) vs. Detroit Lions (3-1 SU, 3-1 ATS, 3-1 O/U)
NFL: Sunday, October 8, 2017, Ford Field, Detroit, Michigan, 1 pm ET
Spread: Detroit -3; Over/Under: 44
It’s a Week 5 matchup in the NFL in the Motor City between NFC opponents who are tied for their respective division leads. The Carolina Panthers are on the road as they face the Detroit Lions Sunday afternoon. Carolina bounced back from a blowout loss to the Saints by stunning New England on the road, 33-30, last Sunday. Detroit rebounded from their narrow loss to Atlanta by shutting down Minnesota 14-7 on the road last week. The Panthers have a 5-2 edge in the all-time regular-season series, including a 24-7 home win in the most recent meeting on September 14, 2014.
Carolina Panthers Look to Build Off Upset
Carolina was trounced by the Saints at home two weeks ago but came back to take apart the Patriots’ defense to get the win. The Panthers let a 30-16 lead slip away in the fourth quarter but won the game on a 48-yard field goal as time expired after driving 46 yards in 10 plays over the final 3:09 of the contest. Carolina held a 444-373 advantage in total offense and a 28-24 edge in first downs. That helped the Panthers overcome a 31:07 to 28:53 time of possession disadvantage and the fact that they committed the game’s only two turnovers.
The Panthers are 20th in the league in passing offense with an average of 202.3 yards per game through the air and 13th in rushing with 116.3 yards per contest on the ground. Carolina is 20th in the league in scoring with 19.5 points per game while they rank tied for 4th in scoring defense as they allow 17.5 points per contest. Cam Newton is 73 of 112 passing for 882 yards with five touchdowns and five interceptions while adding 90 yards plus two scores on the ground. Derek Anderson is 2 of 7 for 17 yards. Jonathan Stewart leads the Panthers with 59 carries for 230 yards while heralded first-round pick Christian McCaffrey has run the ball 31 times for 89 yards while reeling in a team-leading 22 passes for 209 yards. Devin Funchess (17 grabs, team-high 216 yards, 2 TD) and Kelvin Benjamin (13 receptions, 209 yards) are solid playmakers on the outside. Graham Gano has booted six of seven extra points and all 10 field goal attempts this season with a long of 48.
Detroit Lions Hope to Roll to 4-1
Detroit is 3-1 after their tough divisional win over Minnesota on the road last week. The Lions are realistically only half a yard shy of being 4-0 as that’s how far replay determined they fell short of beating the Falcons in week 3. Detroit relied on their defense to come up with clutch plays Sunday as they were outgained 284-251 despite having a 19-15 edge in first downs and a dominating 36:27 to 23:33 advantage in time of possession. The Lions won the turnover battle, forcing three Vikings miscues while not committing one of their own. Detroit held on downs at their 14 in the final minutes and forced a fumble on the Vikings’ last possession.
The Lions are 19th in the league in passing offense with an average of 202.8 yards per game through the air and 19th in rushing with 97 yards per contest on the ground. Detroit is 10th in the league in scoring with 24.8 points per game while they rank tied for 4th in scoring defense as they allow 17.5 points per contest. Matthew Stafford has completed 88 of 138 passes for 887 yards with seven touchdowns against one interception while adding 53 yards on the ground. Ameer Abdullah is the leading ground gainer with 66 carries for 257 yards plus a score while Theo Riddick has 14 carries for 23 yards but adds 14 receptions for 90 yards and a score. Golden Tate is the team’s leading receiver out of the slot with 24 grabs for 219 yards and a score. Eric Ebron adds 11 receptions for 87 yards plus a score but the team needs more from Marvin Jones Jr. (eight catches, 130 yards, two TD) on the outside to maintain their success. Matt Prater has hit all seven extra points and eight of nine field goal attempts with a long of 58.
- Panthers are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games after accumulating more than 250 yards passing in their previous game
- Panthers are 1-6-1 ATS in their last 8 games following an ATS win
- Panthers are 1-6 ATS in their last 7 games on fieldturf
- Lions are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games in October
This one could be a low scoring affair as both teams are very good defensively and get after the quarterback. The run game could be crucial here, which would swing Carolina’s way, but the Lions are a bit more polished offensively, especially with Greg Olsen missing for the Panthers. That’s a big part of their offense, not to mention Newton’s safety blanket, missing. That’s a tough adjustment as 1,000 yard receiving tight ends don’t grow on trees. Detroit gets the edge at home in a tight, back and forth contest.
Pick: Detroit Lions -3
The name of the game here seems to be defense with both teams having allowed 70 points through the first four weeks with big numbers coming against the Panthers the last two weeks (34 by New Orleans, 30 by New England) while Detroit gave up 30 to the Falcons in week 3. Throw those numbers out and their already good defensive metrics are even more impressive. This one may be decided by which team has the better pass rush and who avoids turning the ball over the most.
The under is 6-1-1 in the Panthers last 8 games after allowing more than 350 total yards in their previous game, 4-1-1 in their last 6 games following a ATS win, 8-2 in their last 10 games in Week 5 and 5-2-1 in their last eight overall. Detroit has seen the under go 8-1 in their last 9 games following a straight up win, 7-1 in their last 8 games following a ATS win and 7-3 in their last 10 vs. a team with a winning record. This one stays under the total thanks to good defense by both teams.