Carolina Panthers (4-10 8-6 ATS) at Washington Football Team (6-8 9-5 ATS)
Washington can wrap up a playoff berth with a little help and a win hosting the Panthers. Washington is a 2.5-point betting favorite in this NFC matchup with a total sitting at 44.5.
While the total has slightly gone down the spread has not changed since opening as of Wednesday.
As improbable as it seems after a 2-7 start Washington can win the NFC East with a win in this game and if the Giants lose to the Ravens. Washington had their four-game win streak snapped in their last game in a 20-15 loss to the Seahawks. However, the defense has killed it as of late and will face a Carolina team that has lost three in a row and eight of their last nine games.
Panthers Competitive at 4-10
While the Panthers are only 4-10 they have been competitive this season and in their three-game skid, they have only lost by a combined 13 points.
One major concern for Washington is at the QB position. Alex Smith missed the last game and is day-to-day with a calf injury. Dwayne Haskins lost his starting job earlier in the season and is in hot water again after pictures were posted of him online at a partly with strippers after the loss to the Seahawks,
One of the reasons Haskins was benched was his immaturity and that has not seemed to improve. However, while many would have been suspended for his actions Haskins will not be, as the team needs him since Smith is a question mark.
Well, for the bad for Washington out of the way the good is their defensive front had been playing great and the team has only given up an average of 18.4 ppg in their last five games.
The underdog has covered the spread in eight of the last 10 games between these teams.
Will He Be Back?
One of the main reasons for the Panthers’ struggles this season is that star RB Christian McCaffrey has been sidelined for most of the season with an injury. However, he may come back in this game and that would be a huge boost for Carolina.
The Panthers are coming off a 24-16 loss to the Packers where they only gave up three points in the second half but could stop the run.
Teddy Bridgewater has been decent on the season but in his last two games has no TD and has been sacked seven times. The last point is a big concern facing Chase Young and an upstart Washington defense in this game.
D.J. Moore has at least 127 receiving yards in two of his last three games and RB Mike Davis has played decent in McCaffrey’s absence rushing for at least 51 yards in each of the last four games.
Bridgewater and the Panthers have to be careful with the rock and be ready for a Washington defense that is playing very well as of late.
Haskins Has to Keep it Simple
Haskins will likely get the start in this game with Smith still injured and he has to keep it simple in this game. In Washington’s last game they lost to the Seahawks 20-15 and while Haskins passed for 295 yards and a TD he was picked off twice when he tried to make the big play down the field.
Washington has some weapons with the likes of RB J.D. McKissic, WR Terry McLaurin, and TE Logan Thomas, who had 13 catches for 101 yards in the loss to Seattle.
The Football Team has to limit mistakes in this game and not get down as they did in the Seattle game. Their D has to set the pace and the offense may want to lean on the run facing a Carolina run defense that gave up 195 rushing yards in their last game.
The Panthers have covered the spread in their last six road games. On the other side of the coin, Washington has covered in their last five games overall.
Washington really needs a W in this game, and they will get it behind another strong defensive performance. The offense will be decent but that is all they will need to be with Chase Young and company leading the way. In typical Washington fashion, I see the team giving the Panthers chances but in the end, the Football Team will get the win and cover the spread.
PICK: Washington -2.5