Detroit Lions (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS) vs. Carolina Panthers (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS)
NFL Week 2
Date and Time: September 14th @ 1:00 PM E
Where: Bank of America Stadium
TV: Fox, DirectTV
by Jeff Hochman, Pro Handicapper, JHSportsline.com
Point Spread: DET +2.5/CAR -2.5
Over/Under Total: 43.5
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Two teams looking to start undefeated headlight this Nationally televised early 1:00 PM matchup on Fox. This will be game you’re watching if you don’t have the NFL Sunday Ticket. The Detroit Lions got off to a fast start with its big win over the NY Giants on Monday Night Football. It was everything I expected from the game. A big Lions win. Even though the Giants went 5-0 in the preseason, those games were won by the backups. The Giants are learning a new offensive system and it shows. Detroit outgained the Giants by a whopping 220 yards. The Carolina Panthers defeated the Tampa Buccaneers 20-14 as 5.5-point dogs. The Bucs were game-planing for Cam Newton all week. Derek Anderson took them by surprise as with most backups that start at the last minute. It was a game that your’s truly had completely wrong.
The Lions pass rush will look to have a field day against the Panthers’ offensive line. The Panthers returned only one starter from their offensive line. The play of the line was a major factor in Panthers’ 12-4 record last season. Despite the large turnover and last place offensive line ranking going into this season, Derek Anderson never touched the ground. Look for the Lions to run some stunts and blitzes to test that young offensive line. Very few teams use the run to set up the rest of its offense. Carolina pounded their way to 113 yards on 33 rushing attempts. And while a 3.0 yards per carry average is not world class, the shear volume of running plays helped offset what the Bucs were expecting.
I don’t think the Lions will be surprised by anything the Panthers will do in this game. Carolina runs a very vanilla offense. I think they will be ready even coming off a short week. The Lions defended teams very well last year that ran the read option. You could argue that the Lions’ defense is better than last season. Cam Newton is probable and he’s had very little work with his new receivers. With Steve Smith moving on, the Panthers’ receivers are now the youngest in the NFC South. The Lions defense is very solid in the secondary and I expect a low passing day from Cam and company.
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The Lions are 5-1 SU and 5-1 ATS all time against the Panthers. In their most recent outing the Lions defeated Carolina 49-35 as 7-point home chalk back in 2011. Carolina jumped out to a 10-0 first quarter lead. After that, is was all Lions. Matthew Stafford had a monster game. He threw for 335 yards with five touchdowns. Look for the Lions to spread the Panthers out with four receiver sets. Looking back at that game, the Panthers could not stop the spread offense. The Lions certainly have the firepower to take advantage in a big way.
Jeff’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Detroit Lions +2.5
I will take the road team as a light play. Carolina was aided by three Tampa Bay turnovers in last week’s victory. The Lions are just 7-16 SU and 6-16 ATS when playing with 6 or less days rest. Those Lions were not as good as this year’s version. I believe in the Lions this year. Take the short number.