Tennessee Titans (4-4 SU, 3-5 ATS) at Carolina Panthers (2-6 SU, 5-2-1 ATS)
Sunday November 13th, 2011. 1:00PM EST. NFL Football Week 10
Bank of America Stadium Charlotte, N.C.
By Jay Horne, NFL Handicapper of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Ten +3/CAR -3
Over/Under Total: 46
The Carolina Panthers will welcome the Tennessee Titans to Bank of America Stadium this Sunday after having a week 9 ‘bye’. This will be the Panthers 6th home game already this season and the place where their only two wins have come this season. The Panthers have been a team this season that has been in contention in nearly every ball game. In fact, 5 of 6 of the Panthers’ losses have come by one score or less this year. With a week off to work out some of their problems, Carolina looks to continue improving and score some more victories before the year ends.
The visiting Titans sit at 4-4 on the season and will take to the road for the first time in over a month of football. Tennessee jumped out to a solid 3-1 start this year, but has now lost 3 of their last 4 games. Last week the Titans fell to the Bengals 24-17 and they are in desperate need to right the ship heading into this Sunday’s game with the Panthers. Despite an average 4-4 record, the Titans are not necessarily out of the AFC South race. The Texans have a two game advantage, but the Titans are a surge away from making things interesting again.
For that to happen, the Titans will have to find an answer to their offensive problems. Tennessee has been simply bad on offense averaging just 310 yards per game of total offense (27th in NFL). One of the big surprises has been the lack of production from running back Chris Johnson. Johnson is a guy that has rushed for 3,300 yards over the last 2 seasons, but has just 366 rushing yards thus far this year. Johnson’s production or lack of this season has possibly been the biggest shocker among NFL players. Titans’ fans have been hoping for weeks that this would be the week that Johnson emerges from his slump. Again, this week will be another great opportunity against a Panthers run defense that has given up 133 yards per game on the year (27th in NFL).
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If Johnson can find his rhythm again, the Titans will definitely be tough to beat. So far the offense has been fairly plain. QB Matt Hasselbeck has played decent completing 62.5% for 2,014 yards with 13 touchdowns and 6 picks. Hasselbeck has taken care of the ball fairly well, but the Titans are simply not an explosive passing team. However, the offense could become much more difficult to defend if the rushing attack could pick up the slack. Therefore, it will be interesting to see if the Panthers defense continues to struggle stopping the run or if the Titans will continue to struggle running football.
For Carolina, the Panthers have been much improved this season on the offensive side of the football. QB Cam Newton is one of the more exciting players in the NFL to watch due to his big play potential and a big credit to the offenses’ improvement. Newton can make plays with his legs, but also has a strong arm to make throws down the field.
On the year, Newton has completed 60.3 % passing for 2,393 yards with 11 scores and 9 picks. Despite the interceptions concerns which are expected with a rookie quarterback, Newton has done a great job of getting the ball in areas for the Panthers receivers to make plays. WR Steve Smith has posted 918 receiving yards on the year which ranks 2nd out of all NFL receivers. Smith has averaged 20.0 yards per reception and has consistently come up big in crucial situations. If that happens his Sunday, those big plays could have a huge impact in the outcome.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: The Panthers have been able to score points on everyone this season and I’m just not convinced the Titans offense can keep pace this Sunday. Plus it has been several weeks since the Titans played on the road. I simply think there is too many factors pointing towards a Panthers cover to ignore. My prediction is the Carolina Panthers -3.
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