With wildcard hopes on the line, the (7-5-1) Washington Redskins host the (5-8) Carolina Panthers at FedEx Field (8.30pm ET, Monday). The home team is a seven-point favorite, but when it comes to our concluding betting predictions and picks, this game may not prove as one-sided as the sportsbooks suggest.
First there is plenty for this preview to analyze and Monday night marks the 13th regular season meeting between the two NFC teams, with the Redskins leading the series by a 7-5 record. However, this is in part due to Washington winning each of the first six meetings. Lately, it has been the Panthers who have dominated, winning each of the last four. The Redskins haven’t defeated Carolina since 2006.
That’s not to say Washington can’t win as this year’s Panthers team is a far cry from the one that finished as Super Bowl runner-ups. Carolina has dealt with injuries, inconsistent play and a general production drop off both offensively and defensively. Coming into this game, Washington has the better team and the better chance to win at home and stay in the wildcard race in what has been a very competitive NFC race.
Hello Old Friend
One of the biggest reasons behind Carolina’s disappointing season has been the performance of quarterback Cam Newton (pictured). One of the most prolific dual threat QBs in the league and a former MVP, Newton’s numbers have really dipped this year as he’s struggled with his accuracy and likely mentally as well given what he sees as a lack of calls. Newton has become more of a pocket passer this year due to his inability to feel safe and protected as a runner and this has affected not only his play but that of his teammates around him.
On Monday, Newton has certainly got a tough road ahead of him because not only does he have to try to find that level of success he had last year, but he has to do it against one player in particular who knows him very well.
Of course, I’m talking about Josh Norman who spent the better part of his career as one of the best pass-stopping cornerbacks in the entire NFL, doing so as a member of Carolina’s formidable secondary. Norman was a big part of the reason why defensively the Panthers were one of the best units in the league and without him, that group has struggled to find the same sort of efficiency.
This is in part because the unit is so young with two rookie cornerbacks and a young safety as well. The group has been up and down for the most part. A matchup against Washington’s tough duo of wide receivers DeSean Jackson and Jamison Crowder is not exactly one that favors Carolina. These two are great at stretching out the field and making big plays. With Kurt Cousins once again enjoying a pretty good season, the Redskins have been able to exploit even the most veteran secondaries. The Panthers are far from that.
Norman’s absence alone has been an issue for Carolina and what they’ve tried to do this year but in this game there’s an added problem Norman could cause. That’s because he knows what Newton likes to do. He knows how Newton likes to run the offense. Another thing he knows is how to stop Kelvin Benjamin, who he used to line up against for first team snaps in practice.
Benjamin has been a great asset for the Panthers this year since returning from the injury that cost him all of last season. He has 51 receptions and five touchdowns and has been Newton’s primary wide receiver go-to.
But Newton does have another go-to and it’s Greg Olson. Olson has been a security blanket for Newton much as Jason Witten was for years with Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys. He has 907 receiving yards on the year ranking him among the top 5 tight ends in the league. Fortunately for the Panthers, Olson won’t be lined up against Norman. Instead, he’ll face a secondary which has historically struggled to cover tight ends, a pattern that continued this season. If Olson can have a big game, the Panthers might be able to pull off the upset.
Our Preview’s Carolina Panthers at Washington Redskins Betting Predictions & Picks
Washington are seven point home favorites with the USA betting sites, which is a pretty fair spread given the situation. However, my advice is to take Carolina and the points. The Panthers have struggled but they do always seem to play well against Washington. Even with Norman on the other side of the ball, Carolina does have the offense to get it done. They just need to play the way they are capable.
So these are this preview’s Monday night game’s betting predictions and picks:
- Bet on Carolina Panthers +7pts @ betting odds of -115 with both Bovada and BetOnline sportsbooks. 5Dimes go -120 for that spread.
- As for the total points in the game prediction, the pick is to take the over 50.5pts @ -110 with 5Dimes Sportsbook or BetOnline. It is over 51pts with Bovada. If the Panthers are to win, this is probably going to be a bit of a scoring showdown.