Carolina Panthers vs. Cleveland Browns Pick
Carolina Panthers (6-6 SU, 5-7 ATS) vs. Cleveland Browns (4-7-1 SU, 7-5 ATS)
When: December 09, 2018, 1:00 PM EST
Where: First Energy Stadium, Cleveland, Ohio
BY: Rick Wise
Point Spread: CAR -1/CLE +1
Takeaways From Week 13
Cam Newton threw four interceptions as The Panthers lost their fourth straight 24-17 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday.
In the midst of their first four-game losing streak since 2016, Carolina on Monday fired defensive line coach Brady Hoke and secondary/cornerbacks coach Jeff Imamura. Head coach Ron Rivera has reportedly taken over calling the defense so first-year defensive coordinator Eric Washington looks to be next. And if the losing trend continues, Rivera is also likely to be out of a job by season’s end.
The offense is a mess, but Christian McCaffrey continues to be the unit’s lone bright spot. Against the Bucs, he carried 10 times for 106 yards and caught five passes for 55 yards and 1 touchdown. It was McCaffrey’s fifth consecutive game with at least 50 yards rushing and 50 yards receiving, making him the first player to do so since 1970.
Meanwhile, the Browns dropped to 4-7 after a 29-13 loss to the red-hot Houston Texans Sunday.
Cleveland lost the turnover battle big, giving away four, including three interceptions from Baker Mayfield, and forcing none. Mayfield’s three picks led to 13 points for Houston. The Brown’s fourth turnover, a fumble by Antonio Callaway after a 71-yard catch, took six points off the scoreboard.
Baker Mayfield struggled mightily for most of the game. He finished 29-of-43 for 397 yards, 1 touchdown, 3 interceptions and a 20.7 quarterback rating, his second lowest of the season. And the game was essentially decided in the first half when he connected on 5-of-13 for 46 yards. The one silver lining is that even after the three picks, Mayfield’s confidence never wavered and he kept hitting on tough throws, including the 71-yard long ball to Callaway.
The Browns and the Panthers don’t have much of a history. They’ve faced off just five times dating back to 1999, and the Panthers lead the series 4-1-0.
For Carolina, listed as questionable for Sunday’s game are K Graham Gano (knee) and G Trai Turner (neck). TE Greg Olsen is out for the season after re-injuring his right foot against Tampa Bay Sunday.
For Cleveland, listed as questionable for Sunday’s game are G Austin Corbett, DT Larry Ogunjobi (bicep), and CB Denzel Ward (concussion).
When the Panthers Have the Ball
The Carolina offense is reeling after four straight losses, but they’re still overflowing with talent. They still own the NFL’s second-ranked rushing offense and its 11th-ranked scoring offense. Christian McCaffrey is also the league’s 7th-leading rusher and its 10th-leading receiver, leading all running backs with 80 receptions. And while Cam Newton and the receiving corps aren’t exactly having banner years, they can also put up points with anyone. And against Cleveland’s 28th-ranked pass defense and 24th-ranked scoring defense, that could be this Sunday.
When the Browns Have the Ball
Baker Mayfield is a gunslinger with a short memory so the three picks against Houston Sunday won’t be on his mind a bit against Carolina. But the offense might be best served to keep his passing attempts far lower than the 43 he had in that game. In his four wins under center, Mayfield attempted more than 26 passes just once. In his six losses, he attempted under 40 passes just once.
- Carolina is 1-4 ATS in its last 5 games
- Carolina is 1-4 SU in its last 5 games
- The total has gone OVER in 4 of Carolina’s last 6 games
- Carolina is 1-5 ATS in its last 6 games on the road
- Carolina is 1-8 SU in its last 9 games on the road
- The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Carolina’s last 5 games on the road
- Carolina is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games when playing Cleveland
- Carolina is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games when playing Cleveland
- Cleveland is 4-20-1 SU in its last 25 games
- Cleveland is 4-2 ATS in its last 6 games at home
- Cleveland is 7-16 ATS in its last 23 games at home
- Cleveland is 4-18-1 SU in its last 23 games at home
- The total has gone UNDER in 14 of Cleveland’s last 19 games at home
- Cleveland is 1-4 ATS in its last 5 games when playing Carolina
- Cleveland is 1-4 SU in its last 5 games when playing Carolina
Cold weather is on tap for this one with temperatures around 32 degrees expected under partly cloudy skies with 60% humidity and 10 mph NW winds.
NFL Pick: Panthers - 1