NFL Point Spread: Packers -10
Super Bowl Champions tend to have a bit of a hangover in their season opener the following year. Apparently someone forgot to tell the Green Bay Packers. The Packer offense was clicking as well as ever in their opening night win over New Orleans. The Panthers came up just short last week at Arizona, but it was evident that this team is much better than it was last season. Can the Panthers keep up with the Super Bowl Champions?
Aaron Rodgers picked up right where he left off last year. Rodgers completed 77.4% of his passes in the Packers win over the Saints. He also threw three touchdowns and zero interceptions. Five different receivers had at least 35 receiving yards in the win. James Starks and Ryan Grant shared time in the backfield. Some people forget, but Ryan Grant went down in week one last year and the Packers went on to win the Super Bowl without their starting tailback. This offense seems more in sync than any other offense in the NFC right now. Can anyone stop the Packers right now?
Green Bay’s defense was superb last year, but they were lit up for 500 yards of total offense and 34 points by the New Orleans Saints. This is a defense that was used to shutting people down at the end of last year. The secondary was surprisingly vulnerable last week, but I would expect them to play much better this Sunday. This should still be one of the best defenses in the league.
Cam Newton couldn’t have been better in his first game in the NFL. Newton threw for an amazing 422 yards and two touchdowns against Arizona. Steve Smith looked like the Steve Smith of old last week as he hauled in eight catches for 178 yards and two scores. The Panthers running game didn’t get going, and that has to be a concern for first year coach Ron Rivera. DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart will need to get going to take some of the pressure off Newton in this matchup.
The Panthers defense is lacking play makers right now, which is why it was such a big blow when Jon Beason went down with a season-ending injury in week one. Carolina will have to find a way to get some pressure on Aaron Rodgers in this one, or he will probably pick this team apart. If the Panthers are going to surprise some people this year, the defense will need to improve.
The Packers offense looked like a well-oiled machine last weekend, and I don’t expect Carolina to slow them down very much. The Panthers should be able to put some points on the board with their improved offense.
Free NFL Pick: Packers/Panthers over 45.5
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