Cincinnati at Carolina
Time: NOON (CT)
Spread: CAR -2.5
Odds c/o 5dimes
The 1-1 Carolina Panthers fell 24-31 to the Atlanta Falcons on the road last week. It is still 1-0 at home where it welcomes the Cincinnati Bengals as 2.5-point favorites. The game will air at Noon (CT) on CBS, and it has an over/under set at 44.5 points according to NFL oddsmakers at bookmaker 5dimes.
Last week, the Panthers were given a taste of its own medicine so to speak as Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan rushed for two touchdowns and did his best Cam Newton impersonation. It was perhaps better than Newton’s himself, as he managed 42 yards on five carries but scored no rushing TDs. Newton also threw 32 of 45 for completion while amassing 335 yards and three TDs, though he did throw an interception and incur two sacks for a total loss of 17 yards.
Moreover, Newton did not get much help from his two running backs with Christian McCaffrey and CJ Anderson combining for just 68 yards on 11 attempts between them. McCaffrey was much more effective in his pass option plays, catching 14 of 15 targeted passes for 102 yards, including a long play of 18-yards. Devin Funchess added another 77 yards on seven catches, and Jarius Wright had 62 yards and one of the three receiving TDs. Carolina was not bad at all offensively, but Ryan was outstanding and Atlanta also recovered all three of the fumbles forced by the Panthers’ defense.
The Cincinnati Bengals are 2-0 after knocking off the Indianapolis Colts and Baltimore Ravens in Weeks 1 and 2, by the same score of 34-23. The Bengals have received some strong play from quarterback Andy Dalton. The veteran has completed 45 of 70 passes for 508 yards with six TDs and just one pick on the year.
Dalton has also been sacked just 1.0 times per game, while rushing for eight yards on his two attempts, as well. AJ Green has been his No. 1 receiver with 161 yards and four TDs on the season, as well as two catches for 20-yards or more. His two fumbles are a bit on the unacceptable side, but he has been the workhorse of the receiving core with only Tyler Boyd having topped 100-yards outside of his services.
Joe Mixon has done almost all the work of the backfield with 38 of its 48 rushing attempts on the year, and Mixon has gained 179 yards through two games, including a TD-rush and a 27-yard carry thus far. The Bengals are perhaps looking to increase the role of Giovani Bernard who has seen just seven carries for 25 yards.
Cincinnati believes Bernard can benefit from more carries as it seeks to diversify its rush game a little bit, with Dalton not being a tremendous threat and Mixon doing basically all the work.
Bernard is in his sixth season out of North Carolina and is dealing with a gimpy knee, but he saw just one carry last week and that figure should be at least the six it was in Week 1 if Cincy really wants to see what has in the 26-year-old speed demon.
It is hoping, perhaps, he can be of a similar mold to (prime) Darren Sproles, being a speedy back whose potential is mostly still untapped.