Thursday, Aug. 22, 8 p.m. (ET)
Pointspread: Baltimore -3
Total Line: 42.5
After watching the Panthers for two games this preseason, there may actually be more questions for this team than answers especially on the offensive side of the ball. In limited action, Cam Newton has completed just 47.8 percent of his passes for 128 yards and zero touchdowns. While there is certainly no reason to panic if you are a Panthers’ fan, you have to hope he shows a bit better consistency in some extended action against the Ravens.
Carolina has scored 24 points in a victory over Chicago in Week 1 but only managed nine points against a Philadelphia defense that had no answer for New England’s relentless rushing attack in its preseason opener. It is all relevant and things should play them self out on Thursday night, but right now the Panthers do not look much better than the 7-9 version we watched take the field last season.
The defending Super Bowl Champs are off to a very solid start with a 44-16 romp over Tampa Bay as three-point road underdogs in Week 1, followed by a 27-23 victory over Atlanta last Thursday as five-point home favorites. The total went OVER in both of those games. The starters did not look all that sharp against the Falcons as the backups played a huge role in winning that game, but we will get a good look at the first team unit on both sides of the ball this Thursday night.
Front and center will be the play of Joe Flacco as fans look for any signs of fatigue from carrying around a fat wallet filled with tons of cash from this offseason’s lucrative contract extension. So far that has not been the case with a 77.8 completion percentage on 18 attempts for 175 yards and one touchdown, but he has been picked-off twice. The real story on offense has been the play of backup Tyrod Taylor. The third-year vet from Virginia Tech has thrown for 237 yards and four touchdowns while adding another 42 yards on the ground.
Free NFL Pick
The third game of the preseason is often used as the final dress rehearsal for the start of the regular season with most starters playing into the second half. That being the case, the free NFL pick in this matchup is Baltimore minus the three points as it builds up enough of a lead to hang on and get the win.
Baltimore 24 Carolina 20
DJ is a freelance writer that concentrates on his true passion in life; the world of sports. He produces a number of articles each week for BangTheBook.com as well as a select group of other websites that specialize in providing the most up-to-date information for the sports gaming industry. His goal is to write insightful articles on a wide variety of sporting topics that can provide an edge to today's sophisticated online player.