Carolina Panthers (5-7) +10.5, 37.5 O/U at Jacksonville Jaguars (8-4) -10.5, Alltel Stadium, Jacksonville, 1.00pm EST Sunday
by The Crazy Snake of Predictem.com
The Panthers snapped a 5 game losing streak last week against San Francisco, another team who had a terrific 8 game losing streak going until the previous week when they snatched victory from the jaws of defeat against the luckless Cardinals. Meanwhile, Jack Del Rio was choosing not to try an onside kick with Jacksonville down by 3 points against the Colts with 2 minutes and change remaining in the 4th quarter. Instead he opted for the more conventional decision to throw any chance of a game tying field goal out the window by kicking the ball down the returner’s throat. If you think I am talking through my pocket a little bit then you’re right (haha!)
The Jags got behind Indy early but made a valiant effort to fight their way back that fell agonizingly short. The challenge to the Ben Utecht fumble late in the first quarter proved pivotal to the result and Manning found Reggie Wayne on the very next play to put the Colts up by two touchdowns. Needless to say, that was a terrible decision by review and cost the Jaguars the game, in all probability. David Garrard threw his first pick of the season and added a fumble deep in his own territory for good measure. Nonetheless, he continues to impress in all he does and is probably the most improved quarterback in all of professional football.
Speaking of quarterbacks, Carolina’s QB issues continue well into the second half of a season they may as well right off as another failed year. They have been nothing short of a major disappointment for several seasons now and must surely take a long hard look at themselves. Jake Delhomme is on injured reserve, David Carr is an embarrassment to former number 1 draft picks everywhere, and despite preferring to sit on his couch and watch football rather than play it, Vinny Testaverde, who incidentally is older than me, is the Panther’s starter. I strongly suspect he will wonder why he gave up life as a couch potato after the Jacksonville defensive line penetrates the backfield and rubs his nose in Alltel Stadium grass for the umpteenth time. Hats off to the guy though, seriously. What an inspiration to “40 somethings” everywhere he is.
The equation in this game is simple enough. The Panthers simply don’t have the personnel to challenge the Jaguars straight up at this point in time, all other things being equal. It would be a monumental upset should they find a way to win this game and I am not seriously considering that a possibility. They just aren’t playing well despite winning easily last week. A win against the 49ers just doesn’t hold a lot of water right now.
The danger here is the motivation of Jacksonville. They were really pumped up for their divisional rivalry game last week and only a let down will endanger them here. They have not locked up a playoff spot and Indianapolis hasn’t officially locked up the division yet so they shouldn’t lack in strong reasons to win. Covering the sportsbooks 10.5 point start is the question, however, and that will only happen if they show up ready to play. They really are classes above Carolina, however, and could win very easily if they really wanted to.
The Snake’s Bite: I am banking on Jacksonville to show up all guns blazing here. I don’t think they can afford to be complacent with so much still to play for. They should give Carolina a hiding and I am going to suggest we should back them to do so. Take Jax at the -10.5.