Carolina Panthers at Los Angeles Rams
Sunday, November 6, 2016, 4:05 pm Eastern, TV: Fox, NFL Sunday Ticket
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum – Los Angeles, California
Opening Line: Carolina -3 (-120)
Current Line: Carolina -3 (-130)
Opening Total: 46
Current Total: 44 1/2
Opening Money Line: Panthers -160 / Rams +140
Current Money Line: Panthers -155 / Rams +135
The 2-5 Carolina Panthers travel to the 3-4 Los Angeles Rams Sunday. Although both teams have had losing streaks of at least three games they are still very much in the playoff race in the wide-open NFC where seven teams have three or four losses and three teams have ties.
The big story for this game will be how the referees will call what happens to Carolina quarterback Cam Newton. Despite a win over the Arizona Cardinals to snap a 4 game losing streak for the Panthers last week, the refs missed a couple of blatant illegal hits on Newton. Cam went on a rant after the game saying he was tired of it, and that he would be speaking with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell about the lack of calls he is getting.
The Panthers lead the series 12-8 against the Rams. Carolina has won five of the last six games against Los Angeles/St. Louis, including 30-15 in Charlotte in 2013 in the last meeting. Carolina made their debut as an expansion team the same season that the Rams relocated from Los Angeles to St. Louis in 1995.
Carolina is coached by Ron Rivera. The Panthers have home wins over the San Francisco 49ers 46-27 and Cardinals last week 30-20. Carolina has road losses to the Denver Broncos 21-20, Atlanta Falcons 48-33, and New Orleans Saints 41-38, plus home losses to the Minnesota Vikings 22-10 and Tampa Bay Buccaneers 17-14. The Panthers were 2.5 point favorites against the Cardinals and the total was 45.5. Carolina is 2-5 ATS and the total is 5-2 this season.
Los Angeles is coached by Jeff Fisher. The Rams have road losses at the San Francisco 49ers 28-0 and Detroit Lions 31-28 last week, plus a home loss to the Buffalo Bills 30-19. Los Angeles lost to the New York Giants 17-10 in London two weeks ago. The Rams have lost three straight games after a three game winning streak. LA has a home win over the Seattle Seahawks 9-3, plus road wins at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 37-32 and Cardinals 17-13. The Rams were 2.5 point underdogs against the Giants and the total was 44.5. LA is 3-4 ATS and the total is 3-4 this season.
Carolina is being outscored 28-27 this season. The Panthers are #4 in scoring but #25 in points allowed. Carolina averages 388 yards per game on offense including 264 passing and 124 rushing yards. The Panthers are in the top 10 in all three categories. On defense, Carolina allows 367 yards per game including 287 passing and 80 rushing yards per game. The Panthers are #29 in pass defense but #3 in rush defense. Carolina is 43/102 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 41/96. The Panthers have forced 20 sacks and allowed 16 this season. Carolina is -7 in turnovers but has scored 3 defensive touchdowns.
Newton has completed 57% of his passes for 1,508 yards with 8 touchdowns and 6 interceptions, plus 38 catches for 191 yards and 3 touchdowns. Those are far below the numbers that Newton put up last year when he won the MVP. He missed the game against the Buccaneers with a concussion. Derek Anderson has thrown for 453 yards with 2 touchdowns and 4 interceptions.
Running back Jonathan Stewart has 64 carries for 253 yards and 4 touchdowns, plus 3 catches. Stewart missed several games due to injury, and is listed as questionable for undisclosed reasons. Fozzy Whitaker has 35 carries for 186 yards, plus 21 catches for 177 yards. Cameron Artis-Payne has 36 carries for 136 yards and 2 touchdowns. Mike Tolbert will also get some carries.
Tight end Greg Olson has 40 catches for 621 yards and 2 touchdowns. Receiver Kelvin Benjamin has 31 catches for 467 yards and 4 touchdowns. Ted Ginn, Jr. has 19 catches for 244 yards, plus 6 carries for 36 rushing yards. Corey Brown has 18 catches for 180 yards and a touchdown. Devin Funchess has 10 catches for 150 yards and 2 touchdowns. Eleven defensive players and three offensive linemen are listed on the injury report. Star linebacker Luke Kuechly is questionable with a groin injury.
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Los Angeles is being outscored 22-17 this season. LA is #30 in scoring. The Rams average 308 yards per game on offense including 228 passing and 80 rushing yards per game. LA is #25 or worse in all offensive categories. On defense, the Rams allow 343 yards per game including 239 passing and 104 rushing yards. LA is 39/101 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 45/101. The Rams have forced 10 sacks and allowed 16 this season. Los Angeles is -3 in turnovers and has allowed 3 defensive touchdowns.
Quarterback Case Keenum has completed 62% of his passes for 1,708 yards 8 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, and he has 15 carries for 40 rushing yards with a touchdown. With the offense struggling, there have been calls from LA fans and media to start rookie Jared Goff who was the #1 pick in the NFL draft.
Running back Todd Gurley has 134 carries for 403 yards and 3 touchdowns, along with 21 catches for 168 yards. Benjamin Cunningham will also get some carries.
Receiver Kenny Britt has 33 catches for 535 yards and 2 touchdowns. Brian Quick has 20 catches for 357 yards and 3 interceptions. Tavon Austin has 36 catches for 299 yards and 2 touchdowns, along with 12 carries for 52 rushing yards. Tight end Lance Kendricks has 25 catches for 241 yards and a touchdown. Five defensive players are listed on the injury report.
Carolina is 4-0 ATS in November, 8-1 after allowing more than 250 passing yards, 14-6 on grass, 2-5 after a straight up win, and after a cover, 1-4 overall, and against NFC teams, and 0-7 in road games. The favorite is 4-1 ATS in this series recently. The Panthers are 6-1 ATS against the Rams recently.
Los Angeles is 7-2 ATS after a bye week, 5-2-1 after scoring less than 15 points, 2-5-1 after failing to cover, 7-19 after allowing less than 250 total yards, 2-6-1 after a straight up loss, 5-16 after passing for more than 250 yards, 1-7 in week nine, and 0-3-1 in November. The under is 4-1 in this series recently. The home team is 6-1 ATS in this series recently.
The Rams are awful on offense but Carolina struggles on defense especially against the pass. I don’t trust either of these teams, but I will take the Rams to pull off the mild upset as they are at home and fresh off a bye.