NFL Picks Week 11: Carolina Panthers vs. Detroit Lions

Carolina Panthers at Detroit Lions
Sunday, 11/20/11, 1:00 PM EST, TV:  FOX
Opening Point Spread:  Detroit -7
Current Betting Line:  Detroit -6.5
Opening Total:  49
Current Total:  47.5
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

The Carolina Panthers are led offensively by rookie quarterback Cam Newton

Carolina really has nothing to lose walking into Ford Field Sunday afternoon, coming in with a 2-7 record and no real chance in making the playoffs.  The Panthers will be looking to snap a two-game losing streak that includes a humiliating 30-3 loss to the Tennessee Titans last week as 3.5-point home favorites.  “We didn’t do anything right,” commented Panthers tight end Greg Olsen.  “There isn’t one thing that we can hang our hat on.  It was just an overall pathetic performance.”  Carolina has tallied a 3-2 ATS mark as an underdog this year, while going 2-1 ATS against other NFC North opponents.

The Panthers will need to get their once powerful running game in gear to help keep pressure off rookie quarterback Cam Newton.  “We’ve got to get the run going,” stated Panthers left tackle Jordan Gross.  Both defenses struggle to stop the running game, with Detroit surrendering 134.4 rushing yards per game.  On the other side of the ball, the Panthers stop unit will likely not have to worry about defending Lions starting running back Jahvid Best, who is still suffering from concussion symptoms.

Detroit started the season with five straight wins and has since dropped three of four, including a 37-13 loss to the Chicago Bears as 2.5-point road underdogs.  The Lions are likely fighting for a Wild Card spot with the Green Bay Packers sitting atop the division with the only unblemished record in the NFL.  “We are 6-3, we don’t want to forget about that,” commented Lions coach Jim Schwartz.  Detroit is 2-2 ATS at home this season and 12-8 ATS over the last two-plus campaigns.

The Lions match up well against the Panthers passing game and wide receiver Steve Smith, allowing just 17 pass plays of 20 yards or more, leading the NFC in pass defense.  Detroit will need to stay away from costly mistakes, turning the ball over six times last week, led by quarterback Matthew Stafford throwing four interceptions.  The third-year signal-caller ended up completing 33-of-63 passes for 329 yards.  The Lions will be aiming to snap a four-game losing streak in this series, dropping the last meeting by a 31-22 score as 14-point road underdogs on Nov. 16, 2008.

Bettors will likely back the Panthers due to the underdog being 4-1 ATS in this series, while the Lions are 6-21-1 ATS in November.

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