Two of the best teams in the NFC will cross paths in Week 10 when the Carolina Panthers pay a visit to the Green Bay Packers. Kickoff is at 4:25 EST on Sunday, November 10 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin. A majority of the country can watch the game on Fox.
The Packers are currently listed as 5.5-point favorites at home. The game also has an over/under of 47 points. Click here to check out a full list of the Week 10 NFL betting odds.
The Packers came crashing down to earth in a big way last week. One week after beating the Chiefs on the road, the Packers played their worst game of the season, getting dominated by the Chargers in a 26-11 loss. The silver lining is that every other team in the NFC North also lost last week, keeping Green Bay a game ahead of the Vikings for the top spot in the division.
With a bye next week, the last thing the Packers want to do is lose two in a row before getting a week off. The team is also scheduled to visit the undefeated 49ers when they come back from their bye in Week 12. If the Packers can win Sunday and beat the 49ers after the bye, they might have a chance to reach the top of the NFC, as Green Bay plays a rather favorable schedule in December. However, they also face the possibility of a three-game losing streak if they can’t hold serve at Lambeau on Sunday.
In Carolina, the Panthers are officially Kyle Allen’s team. With Cam Newton going on IR this past week, Allen is the undisputed starter for the rest of the season. Despite a rough 51-13 loss to the 49ers a couple of weeks ago, the Panthers are 5-1 with Allen starting, including a 30-20 win over the Titans last week.
At 5-3, the Panthers remain two games behind the Saints in the NFC South. Carolina still gets two head-to-head games with the Saints during the second half of the season, giving them a chance to overtake New Orleans. However, five of Carolina’s last eight games are against teams with winning records. That schedule figures to be far more challenging than what the Panthers have faced thus far, as four of their five wins have come against losing teams. That makes this week’s game against Green Bay a chance for the Panthers to prove they’re for real.
I don’t want to overreact to Green Bay’s loss last week because the Packers are still 7-2. But the Packers had some of their flaws exposed by the Chargers last week. More importantly, they were weaknesses that Carolina is equally capable of exploiting. Things should come a little easier to Green Bay back at home. But I think the Panthers are for real and will make this a field goal game, meaning Carolina will at least beat the spread.
Green Bay’s biggest problems last week were their lack of a running game and protection issues that limited Aaron Rodgers to just 161 passing yards because he was under constant pressure. Even with Davante Adams returning from injury, the Packers did nothing in the passing game. At times this season, Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams have been a productive backfield duo. But the Green Bay rushing attack has been inconsistent from one week to the next, making it hard to trust the Packers to establish their ground game against a solid Carolina defense.
A lack of running game combined with the Packers falling behind early last week allowed the Chargers to tee off with their pass rush. The duo of Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram was more than the Green Bay offensive line could handle. The Packers could have a similar problem against the Carolina pass rush. The Panthers lead the NFL in sacks, not with one or two stars but with seven players who have at least three sacks on the season. That could be a problem for Green Bay if they can’t establish the running game early.
Meanwhile, questions continue to mount about the Green Bay defense. The Packers looked strong on that side of the ball early in the season. But they’ve conceded at least 22 points in six straight games. Obviously, they’ve managed to win four of those games. But it’s put the team’s success squarely on the shoulders of Rodgers and the offense.
A week ago, the Packers struggled to stop the run against the Chargers. That could spell big trouble this week with the Green Bay defense going up against McCaffrey. Not only is he averaging over 100 yards per game rushing, but McCaffrey is Carolina’s third-leading passer, helping him average 155 total yards per game. Outside of the Bucs, who have the league’s best rush defense, no one has found a way to stop McCaffrey. Plus, the Panthers are getting just enough from Allen and their wide receivers to keep teams honest against the run.
Unless the Packers find the magic formula for containing McCaffrey, they’re going to have a hard time beating the Panthers by a comfortable margin, or even beating the Panthers at all. Between McCaffrey and the Carolina pass rush, the Panthers are poised to give Rodgers and the Packers all they can handle. Even if Green Bay escapes with a win, I like the Panthers to beat the spread.