Week 1 NFL Preseason Betting Preview: Carolina Panthers vs. Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers
(0-0, 0-0 ATS)

Baltimore Ravens
(0-0, 0-0 ATS)

Hopes are high for both the Baltimore Ravens and Carolina Panthers, as they engage in an NFL preseason betting affair at M&T Bank Field in a game that will be shown nationally on ESPN.

The Panthers are one of the many teams that aren’t so sure who their starting quarterback is going to be heading into the regular season, which could create a heck of a lot drama and hard play from all involved in the preseason. Incumbent Matt Moore led the team to respectability in the regular season last year, but that was mostly thanks to the fact that he had a fantastic running game to rely on. Don’t be shocked to see rookies Tony Pike and Jimmy Clausen both get extensive time under center to try to prove their value to HC John Fox. Mike Goodson had a fantastic preseason last year, and he and Tyrell Sutton will be called on for a good chunk of the rushing duties once DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart have gotten their work in. The defense is going to be faced with the task of replacing DE Julius Peppers, so expect to see plenty of work for Charles Johnson, Tyler Brayton, and Everette Brown, as the three fight it out for the two starting jobs.

There aren’t many position battles looming in Baltimore, but without a doubt, this team is deep enough to be one of the best in the league. The Ravens should have fantastic quarterback play all preseason long, as Joe Flacco, Marc Bulger, and Troy Smith all have plenty of experience and have looked strong at times. There are plenty of rushing options for this team as well, but HC John Harbaugh already knows what he has with Ray Rice, Willis McGahee, and Le’Ron McClain. Look for the action at tight end and at reserve receiver to be tight, as Dennis Pitta, Ed Dickson, Donte Stallworth, and Mark Clayton are all vying for playing time. The defense will have two huge new assets in LB Sergio Kindle and Terrence Cody. Lardarius Webb, Fabian Washington, and Travis Fisher will get huge looks at defensive back, as they are all trying to replace DB Dominique Foxworth, who was lost for the season due to an ACL tear.

Both of these teams are going to play inspired football to start the regular season, which could yield a higher scoring affair, especially under the bright lights of an ESPN broadcast. This is a relatively high ‘total’ for a preseason game, particularly in the first week, but both teams should be able to at least reach the high teens as both have enough offensive potency to put seven points on the board on every drive.

Selection: Carolina Panthers/Baltimore Ravens Over 34

Chrysler Pulls Out of Hundreds of Franchises; More Than a Dozen Showrooms in Washington and Scores Across the Nation Lose a Mainstay, Leaving Dealership Owners and Employees Rattled

The Washington Post May 15, 2009 | Peter Whoriskey; Kendra Marr In 1915, at the dawn of the automobile era, Lewis Reed opened a Dodge dealership on Rockville Pike.

Yesterday his grandsons gathered startled employees together to tell them that the firm’s 94-year run as a Chrysler-Dodge franchise was coming to an end. Chrysler was dumping them.

“It’s not a good feeling,” said Richard L. Gartner, one of Reed’s grandsons, and the president of Reed Brothers Dodge.

Just after meeting to inform employees about 3 p.m. yesterday, he looked fazed, his face flushed.

“We have been with Chrysler for a very long time,” he said, pausing. “We were kind of looking forward to a 100-year anniversary.” Chrysler slashed 789 of its 3,181 dealers yesterday, prompting emergency staff meetings in showrooms across the country, eliciting tears and feelings of betrayal toward the corporate partner they had long served. Most had been notified by overnight letters.

The culling touched Chrysler operations in more than a dozen showrooms around Washington, including Darcars Chrysler of Fairfax, Manassas Dodge, Colonial Dodge, Fitzgerald Auto Mall, Lake Forest Chrysler Jeep and Laurel Dodge.

More such scenes will play out again today, but on a much larger scale, as General Motors notifies 1,100 of its 6,000 dealers that they will be dropped, with another 1,000 to be cut later. this web site fitzgerald auto mall

Chrysler and GM have said they must thin the ranks of their dealerships to improve business and their image.

Having too many competing outlets makes it difficult to keep prices up, industry analysts said. Worse, the resulting profit margins are so slim that it’s difficult to provide the splashiest displays and hire the best salesmen. Toyota, they note, has fewer than half the dealerships that General Motors does.

The dealers generally agree that there are too many outlets. But they say that instead of being summarily cast off, the automakers should allow market forces and attrition to shrink their numbers. That, they acknowledge, is a slower process.

“Today’s announcement by Chrysler that it is rejecting 789 of its Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep dealers marks a very sad day in retail automotive history,” according to a statement for the National Auto Dealers Association. “These dealers and their more than 40,000 employees have done nothing but proudly represent the Chrysler brand through good times and bad, and today find themselves left behind.” Dealer representatives were on Capitol Hill yesterday lobbying lawmakers to block the closures. Many of the dealers, gearing up to fight in bankruptcy court, have hired attorney Stephen Lerner who plans to meet with the government’s autos task force on Tuesday. Bankruptcy laws typically allow companies to drop franchises, and even some of the dealers’ attorneys concede that the legal odds are stacked against them.

The targeted dealers hold more than 44,000 Chrysler cars and trucks on their lots. Those inventories, the company said, would be shifted to surviving shops.

In anticipation of the hard feelings that are erupting with the dealership closures, the Obama administration issued a statement yesterday emphasizing that the list of targeted dealers was drawn up by Chrysler, not the U.S. government.

“The Task Force played no role in deciding which dealers, or how many dealers, were part of Chrysler’s announcement today,” the administration said in a statement. “The sacrifices by the dealer community . . . are necessary for this company and the industry to succeed.” Because the Obama administration is involved in the restructuring of GM and Chrysler, many among the dealers blamed the government for the dealer eliminations, which sever the manufacturer’s relationship with local dealers but don’t necessarily put them out of business.

At a meeting at Darcars Chrysler of Fairfax, owner John Darvish, 72, gathered about 40 employees in the company’s service area. He assured them that they would all still have jobs — the company owns dealerships that offer other brands. But that did little to mitigate the sense of frustration. here fitzgerald auto mall

“I don’t think the government is qualified to run the car business — what do they know about the car business?” said Ron Frye, 57, a parts manager at Darcars for 29 years. “It is what America has come down to today: You run things based on figures. You look at a sheet of paper and you look at some figures and you make a decision.” Jack Fitzgerald, owner of Bethesda-based Fitzgerald Auto Malls, is slated to have all five of his Chrysler dealerships eliminated. He predicted those cuts would hurt Chrysler and boost business at his other outlets.

“As an import dealer, I’m happy for more business,” Fitzgerald said. “As a domestic dealer, I’m sad to see the industry destroy itself.” When Fitzgerald got into the car business 42 years ago, Chrysler was his first franchise. He said Chrysler’s products have deteriorated in quality over the years, but he thought he owed it to his customers to continue servicing their cars. Closing dealerships will only contribute to Chrysler’s declining market share, as customers cannot get local service, he said.

“They can’t afford to turn customers against them,” Fitzgerald said.

In 1919, after Edgar Reed, Lewis’s brother, returned from World War I, he joined the firm. That’s when they became Reed Brothers Dodge.

They sold Hudsons and Oldsmobiles over the years, and eventually moved to a place on Frederick Road, farther north in Rockville Pike, building a 26,000-square-foot showroom with a big parking lot.

Today, it’s still a family business. Richard is the president, and his siblings are involved: Barry is vice president and Jeanne Gartner is secretary.

As long as a decade ago, Gartner said, he warned Chrysler that it was putting down too many dealers. Now it’s his dealership — as well as others in Montgomery County — that are being cut loose.

While acknowledging that the loss of the Chrysler franchise is a blow, the family plans to continue operating, selling used cars and providing repairs.

They intend to keep all 27 employees.

“That’s the goal,” Richard said. Some of the employees were angry, nonetheless.

Coming out the meeting, finance manager Michael O’Daniel, 56, grumbled “Ninety five years gone — just goes to show that after all that time it’s just business.” “Nothing personal, right?” said Franklin Millings, 33, and the two chuckled bitterly.

Richard Garner stuck to the high road when asked whether he felt any anger.

“I wish Chrysler all the success in the future,” he said. “And I hope they will be in business as long as the Reed Brothers will be.” Staff writers Thomas Heath, Dana Hedgpeth, Steven Mufson in Washington and Tomoeh Murakami Tse in New York contributed to this report.

Peter Whoriskey; Kendra Marr

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