Week 11 is scheduled to wrap with a doozy on Monday Night Football with Tom Brady and his Patriots teammates set to lock horns with Cam Newton and the streaking Carolina Panthers. New England went into its bye off its most impressive offensive showing of the season by dropping 55 points on the Pittsburgh Steelers. Carolina will look to avoid the letdown in this spot after going into San Francisco and toppling the 49ers 10-9 in a defensive struggle.
Carolina currently checks in as a 2.5-point favorite for this match-up between Super Bowl hopefuls with the ‘total’ lined at 45.5-points.
PATRIOTS – PANTHERS 2013 WEEK 11 MNF LINE:
OPEN: PANTHERS -2 | CURRENT: PANTHERS -1.5 | O/U: 45
1. Why the PATRIOTS will cover the spread: Bill Belichick has coached his squad to wins four of the L/5 times it returned to the gridiron off a bye, and the Patriots have shined under the Monday Night Lights having covered the closing number in each of their L/5 appearances. Though the defense is still without a number of massive contributors, the offense is the healthiest it’s been all season and enters extremely confident after putting forth its highest scoring output of the season.
With the Panthers possessing one of the most balanced defenses in the league, look for Gronkowski and company to be extremely up for the challenge.
2. Why the PANTHERS will cover the spread: Coach Ron Rivera’s squad is the hottest thing going in the NFC having come out on the right side of the scoreboard in each of their L/5 games played; they beat the oddsmakers in all five games as well! Like the Chiefs in the AFC, this team’s success is ultimately predicated upon the defenses ability to frustrate the opposition and keep it off the scoreboard.
But their naysayers have strongly voiced that the Panthers stop unit hasn’t faced the stiffest of opposition. A quick perusal of the schedule has that belief holding water, so this will be a major test for a defensive unit the betting public isn’t 100 percent sold on.
3. Total Talk: Combined, these teams check in 10-8 to the ‘under’ for the year with two of the Pats four road games going ‘under’ and three of the Panthers’ four home games also failing to surpass the closing number. However, two of the Patriots L/3 away from Gillette Stadium soared ‘over’ with the lone ‘under’ coming in a weather effected match-up with the Bengals in Cincinnati. The ‘over’ is 20-9 in New England’s L/29 road games and has cashed at a 13-3-2 clip the L/18 times the Panthers ran up against a +.500 opponent.
4. Betting Trends for Patriots/Panthers: Carolina has covered four of its five all-time games played vs. New England, but the Patriots came out the SU victor in three of those games. Both of these teams have forced a plethora of turnovers this season, so whichever side is able to do so in this one will have a leg up in ultimately coming out on top. While Carolina passed last week’s litmus test in San Francisco, the 49ers offense was extremely easy to contend with after TE Vernon Davis went down early. It eliminated another receiving threat from an already thin receiving corps and allowed Carolina to key in on stopping Frank Gore.
That won’t be the case this week as the Patriots sport an extremely balanced offense with the 1-2 punch of Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen in the backfield, and Gronkowski, Amendola, Edelman, and Dobson making themselves readily available for Brady. Fresh off the bye, I expect NE to have way too much in the tank for a Carolina team that will put up an adrenaline infused fight early before wilting in the second half.
New England 31 – Carolina 17