Week 2 of the NFL season brings us an intriguing matchup as the Buffalo Bills travel to Charlotte, North Carolina, to take on the Carolina Panthers. This game marks the return of head coach Sean McDermott to the city where he built the Panthers defense into one of the best in the league. Will McDermott lead the Bills to a win over his mentor Ron Rivera, Cam and the Panthers? Kickoff inside Bank of America Stadium as at 1 P.M. ET.
If there’s one team in the NFL that should play well against the Carolina Panthers, it should be the Buffalo Bills. Head coach Sean McDermott built the Panthers defense and practiced against Cam Newton for years. He should be able to devise a plan to contain Cam and his athletic skills. Bills 3rd string quarterback Joe Webb spent all offseason and most of the preseason with Carolina and should also be able to share some intimate knowledge about Carolina’s newer offensive schemes.
Carolina is coming off a sluggish road win against the San Francisco 49ers where Cam Newton looked rusty. The game should’ve been a blowout except Cam missed at least two touchdown throws in addition to a few other bad plays. He won’t be able to get away with that erratic play against the Bills this week, as they have the offense to take advantage of any Cam Newton mistakes.
This game should be a fun one with two solid defenses, ground and pound action, and 2 athletic quarterbacks who can get out of the pocket and make plays.
Carolina opened at an 8 point favorite. Since then, they’ve come down slightly to a 7 point favorite. Some books have Carolina at -7.5 points. If you are looking to lay on the Bills, and you should be, then jump all over the 7.5 point spread. The Over/Under opened at 42 points and has gone up to 43 total points.
For both teams, their Week 1 opponents are considered two of the worst teams in the league. So, it’s hard to gauge just how good Buffalo and Carolina are. Looking at the stats here, both defenses shut down their opponent’s run game and teed off on the quarterbacks. The Bills gave up 12 points to the Jets, while Carolina only gave up 3 to the 49ers.
Offensively, Buffalo exploded for over 400 total yards with 190 on the ground. They bring in the top run game currently in the league, and the best run game over the last 2 years. However, they will face Carolina’s trio of excellent linebackers led by Luke Keuchly. The Panthers front 7 will be one of the best in the league by time this season is done and, on Sunday, you will see why. Additionally, their young corners have matured a lot from their rookie season last year. Look for Carolina to try and shut down LeSean McCoy and force the Bills to throw the ball more.
For the Bills defense, they will also need to shut down the Carolina run game led by Jonathan Stewart and rookie Christian McCaffery. Additionally, they must harass Cam Newton all game long to make sure he doesn’t have time to pick them apart. Lastly, the Bills defense will need to stay in their lanes in order to prevent Cam from breaking containment. The same can be said for Carolina’s defense with Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor.
Both teams are built very similarly on offense and defense. So, it should come as no surprise that this game will be a close one. I expect it to be a defensive battle and a score of 21-17 in favor of the Panthers. However, don’t be surprised if the Bills pull off the upset and win this game outright for their coach.
Buffalo is 4-2 ATS when playing against Carolina. They’re also 5-1 all-time in head-to-head matchups. Carolina is 2-4-1 ATS in their last 7 home games. They’re also 1-4 ATS in their last 5 home games where they’re favored by 3.5 to 7 points.