Week 2 NFL Picks: Buffalo Bills at Carolina Panthers

Buffalo at Carolina
Time: NOON (CT), CBS
Spread: CAR -7.5
Total: 43

Odds c/o 5dimes

Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers made quick work of its week 1 opponent, defeating the San Francisco 49ers 23-3. This week it will host the Buffalo Bills as 7.5-point favorites, in a game which will air at Noon (Central) on CBS. NFL oddsmakers have set the over/under at 43 points for the game.

The Panthers looked great in Week 1. The team held San Francisco to just 217 total yards, including only 55 via the rush. Carlos Hyde was neutralized on his nine carries for 45 yards (excluding one 18-yard jaunt, which skewed the figures some obviously), and Brian Hoyer threw no TD passes while having one interception and incurring four total sacks for a loss of 27-yards. Newton, meanwhile, had his way in going 14 of 25 for two TD-passes and just one interception while avoiding all sacks altogether. His backfield got the job done, too, with Jonathan Stewart and Christian McCaffrey combining to rush for 112 yards between them.

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Newton was good for only three yards on his six attempts, but he found plenty of ways to hurt the Niners’ defense. McCaffrey in typical fashion also got in on the pass catching with five receptions of seven targeted passes for 38 receiving yards. Russell Shepard was targeted twice and caught both, including a TD pass as he led the team with 53 receiving yards. The offensive performance by Carolina was strong, though not overly dominant. It was just that the Panthers defense really put the halts to the Niners, and that could again be the case this week against Buffalo.

The Bills won Week 1 against the N.Y. Jets by a tally of 21-12. Tyrod Taylor threw 16 of 28 for 224 yards with two TDs and one interception, but he was sacked twice in the game. Taylor also rushed for another 38 yards on eight attempts and star running back LeSean McCoy rushed 22 times for 110 yards (5 yards per), including a 27-yard rush.

McCoy also caught five of six targeted passes for another 49 yards, coming up with 159 all-purpose yards on the day. Jordan Matthews was effective, though he caught only two passes. Matthews racked up 61 yards on the pair of receptions and the Bills averaged 14 yards per reception on its 16 total catches for 224 total receiving yards on the game. Buffalo looked strong, but the Jets are hardly the defense one would seek to use as any sort of litmus test.

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In fact, both these clubs faced such ease in Week 1, that this game should be good to obtain a better perspective of what each club may actually be working with in the 2017 season. Taylor could really be the answer at QB for Buffalo, and McCoy is proven as a running back. However, McCoy is dealing with some groin soreness according to head coach Sean McDermott. He sat out Friday’s practice to rest, so he presumably will suit up. McCoy rushed for 1,267 yards last season in a bit of a comeback year after having been under 1,000 in 2015 due to injury. McCoy may not ever amass the league-leading 1,600-plus yards he had in 2013, but that is only because the 29-year-old needs a reduced workload to some extent from the days when he carried 300-plus times a season. His per-carry production has not fallen off.

This game should be an exciting one, and more than we even like Carolina to cover the 7.5 spread, the ‘over’ on 43-points is very intriguing given the offensive brilliance both clubs displayed in their opener. With short data on the season, 43-points appears to be a nice value bet. Newton and Taylor should keep both defenses on their respective toes, and with two dual-threat quarterbacks focusing on a high-octane game, this game could approach 50 total scored points easily.

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