Pro Football Picks: Jacksonville Jaguars at Carolina Panthers

Jacksonville Jaguars at Carolina Panthers
Sunday, 9/25/11, 1:00 PM EST, TV:  CBS
Opening Point Spread:  Carolina -3.5
Current Betting Line:  Carolina -3
Opening Total:  40
Current Total:  42.5
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton is second in the league in passing yards heading into Week 3

Jacksonville is coming off a humiliating 32-3 loss to the New York Jets as nine-point road underdogs last week, as the team will be traveling on the road for a second consecutive week.  The Jaguars were out-gained by 80 yards a week after coming away with a 16-14 win over the Tennessee Titans as one-point home favorites.  The franchise has seen enough of veteran quarterback Luke McCown under center, as he completed just 6-of-19 passes for 59 yards and four interceptions a week ago.  Jacksonville is 15-19 ATS over the last two-plus seasons.

The Jaguars officially start the Blaine Gabbert era, as he completed 5-of-6 attempts for 52 yards last week.  Many around the franchise saw it as inevitable due to drafting him in the first round this year.  “You wouldn’t know he was a rookie,” commented Jaguars offensive linemen Uche Nwaneri.  “That’s one thing I love about him.”  Jacksonville has won three of four all-time meetings in this series and still has running back Maurice Jones-Drew to hand the ball off to.  Creating play-action opportunities in the passing game is going to be Gabbert’s best scenario to be successful on Sunday.

Carolina is 0-2 despite leading the NFC and ranking second in the NFL with 476 yards per game.  The Panthers are one of just two teams in the top 10 in yardage that isn’t in the top 11 in scoring.  There’s the task at hand in practice this week.  “The big thing is that when we get down in the red zone, we’ve got to put it in the end zone,” stated first-year Panthers head coach Ron Rivera.  It’s still a nice uptick from a unit that ranked last in the NFL in scoring and total offense a year ago.  Carolina is 14-21 ATS over the last two-plus campaigns.

The Panthers have been one of the biggest story lines league-wide due to the success of rookie quarterback Cam Newton.  He just set a single-game franchise record with 432 passing yards in a 30-23 loss to the Green Bay Packers as 10.5-point home underdogs.  Passing the ball 83 times and rushing it just 48 is not a recipe for success for this franchise, especially with a talented backfield of Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams.  “I don’t think anybody in this organization wants us to rush for under 100 and throw for over 400 every week,” stated Carolina offensive linemen Jordan Gross.  The team has suffered some major injuries early on in the season, moving forward without the services of linebackers Jon Beason and Thomas Davis.

Bettors will likely back the Jaguars due to their 5-2 ATS mark in Week 3, while the Panthers are 1-7 ATS in September.

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