Matchup: Kansas City Chiefs at Carolina Panthers
Date/Time: August 17, 8:00 p.m. ET
Spread: Carolina -3
Two teams looking to build off of strong 2013 seasons will try to work out some kinks on Sunday night when they appear on national TV for a Week 2 preseason game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Carolina Panthers. The Chiefs and Bengals combined for 80 points last week as they Chiefs escaped with a 41-39 victory. It wasn’t a big offensive show for the Chiefs, however, as two of the touchdowns were interception returns and another was a De’Anthony Thomas punt return. The Panthers, meanwhile, lost 20-18 to the Buffalo Bills, who were playing their second preseason game after appearing in the Hall of Fame Game. Cam Newton did not play for the Panthers.
The Chiefs got excellent performances from Alex Smith and Jamaal Charles in Andy Reid’s first season at the helm, but it was their defense that was the story as the Chiefs jumped out to a 9-0 record. As injuries mounted, the defense fell apart and a memorable collapse at Indianapolis in the AFC Wild Card Round ended the Chiefs’ season.
It was just the preseason, but the Chiefs’ reserves were carved up by Matt Scott, the Bengals’ third-string quarterback, as he scrambled for 68 yards and threw a couple touchdown passes. Depth on the offensive line was also a concern for the Chiefs as Alex Smith, Chase Daniel, and Tyler Bray were sacked six times in the game.
Injuries are already a concern for the Chiefs as well. Reid went so far as to say that wide receiver Dwayne Bowe’s finger is “shot”, when asked about Bowe’s drops during training camp. Eric Berry is going to miss his second straight preseason game with heel tendinitis. The Bowe injury could change the Chiefs’ gameplan for the next couple of preseason games as the need to find a reliable wide receiver grows.
On the other sideline, the Carolina Panthers are going to play their starters deeper than normal for Week 2 of the preseason. As noted in Friday’s “The Money Down” by Cole Ryan, Ron Rivera said that the starters will play a full half and possible into the third quarter because of a quick turnaround with their Week 3 “dress rehearsal” on Friday of next week. That applies to everybody but Cam Newton, who will play about a quarter while nursing an ankle injury.
That could certainly give the Panthers an edge as the Chiefs will be trying out some inexperienced wide receivers against the Panthers first-team defense. That first-team defense may not include Charles Johnson, who is nursing a sore hamstring. Free safety Roman Harper is unlikely to play with a toe injury that forced him to miss most of the reps during the early days of camp. He didn’t play in the opener against the Bils.
The Panthers had some positive developments despite the Week 1 loss as Kelvin Benjamin caught a touchdown pass and Joe Webb looked like a competent backup quarterback going 16-of-28 for 180 yards, a touchdown, a pick, and a team-leading 30 yards on four carries. The defense held the Bills to a combined 5-for-14 mark on third and four down.
Andy Reid is 28-33 in the preseason in his long career, most of that with the Philadelphia Eagles. The Chiefs were 2-2 last season in the preseason under Reid. The Week 1 loss dropped Ron Rivera to 6-7 in preseason contests. Reid is 6-8 in Week 2 of the preseason, while Rivera is 1-2.
Free NFL Pick: Carolina Panthers
The Panthers will probably play their starters four or five series longer than the Chiefs will. The reserves for the Chiefs didn’t play very well in Week 1 and a 69-yard touchdown pass from Chase Daniel to Travis Kelce was the bulk of the offense. Home teams were 14-2 in Week 2 of the preseason and the Panthers would like to win in front of the home fans before hitting the road for the final two preseason contests.
Adam Burke is a freelance writer and amateur handicapper with a knack for finding value through matchup analysis and a deep understanding of the sports betting market. His main area of expertise is baseball, with a background in sabermetrics and advanced statistics. He is the host of The Gridiron Gambling Report and our college football and college basketball BangTheBook.com podcasts on the BlogTalkRadio Network.