Browns – Panthers
Time: NOON CST
Spread: CAR -3.5
Betting odds c/o Bookmaker
The main story last week was the debut of rookie QB “Johnny Football” Manziel. It did not go so well for the young prodigy, as the Browns fell 30-0 to the Cincinnati Bengals.
NFL oddsmakers aren’t expecting a lot more out of Cleveland this week, setting the line 3.5 points in favor of the 5-8-1 Panthers according to live NFL odds.
Carolina began the season with a hint of promise, winning three of its first five before the Week 6 tie against the Bengals. Then, the Panthers proceeded t lose the next six contests before finally getting things back together the last two weeks with victories over Tampa Bay and New Orleans.
Cam Newton has continued to struggle and threw just 58.4 percent for completion this season. Newton also averaged just 7.01 yards per completion while throwing 11 INTs and a meager 16 TDs. He fumbled eight times and posted a poor passer rating of 81.8, which is below is four-year NFL career average.
The progression Newton was required to make to hep this Panthers team ascend to the next level simply has not happened, and given the fact Newton is due to return this week, it simply doesn’t mean much in the long run. Newton’s last matchup saw him throw for 63 percent and 226 yards, while throwing three TDs and no picks.
If he could replicate that type of play, the Panthers could emerge with a three-game win streak. Being slight favorites can be largely attributed to a dynamic and diverse offense. The Panthers rank 12th in the NFL in rushing yardage and 17th in the pass offense. The defense is moderately successful and good at stopping the opposing pass.
While the Panthers are a sub-.500 team, it is not a season without a little bit of hope and optimism. Newton remains stagnant as an NFL quarterback, but he is a dual-threat player and still a guy who has a lot of upside. Greg Olson is unarguably one of the best tight ends in the NFL. It’s not all doom and gloom in Carolina, but this season is just a matter of closing it out with another victory or two, to have steam going into next season.
Jonathan Stewart has had four good consecutive seasons, but last year was his only over 1,000 yards. This year he’s seen less carries and has fallen in his yards per carry, under 5.0. Stewart has protected the football relatively well with just two fumbles this season, and he has caught 21 passes for 154 yards on the season, with an average reception of 7.3 yards. Stewart has appeared in just 11 games due to injury, but even nursing a hip pointer last week he had 22 carries for 73 yards and a catch for six yards. He’s probable for this game and the 5’10” veteran from Oregon may give the Panthers the needed force to edge this one out, should he play as expected.
Cleveland is trying to figure out why Brian Hoyer was benched for a guy whose mechanics are awful but intangibles extra-wordly. Excitement doesn’t make for statistics nor wins, and intangibles are only valuable if accompanied by a dominant talent on the football field. At this point, no one knows if Manziel is that or not. The NCAA is not the NFL. There may be a reason why he “fell” to late in the first round of the NFL draft, in other words, after originally having been projected to be a top-5 pick.
Late point totals showed 41 set as the line in online football betting.
CLE: The Browns are 2-0-2 ATS in the last 4 games after allowing more than 150 yards rushing in their previous game. The Browns are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 after allowing 150 yards passing in their previous game. The Browns are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 following an ATS loss.
CAR: The UNDER is 4-0 in the last 4 home games. The Panthers are 0-4 ATS in the last 4 games after accumulating more than 250 yards passing in previous game. The OVER is 4-0 in Panthers last 4 games after accumulating more than 250 yards passing in previous game.
CLE, Q: M Moore, J Sheard, K Dansby, G Barnidge, J Haden, J Gilbert
Out: T Gipson, K Williams, A Mack, M Austin, P Taylor, J Hughes, A Bryant, M Bowie, D Eubanks
CAR, Prob: R Harper, F Alexander, C Newton, T Davis, B Byndom, A Klein, A Silatolu, D Williams
Out: G Hardy, N Chandler, C Blackburn, R Brockel, G Williams, E Kugbila, K Hughes, K Matthews