Sunday features an NFC versus AFC showdown as the Carolina Panthers (3-5) take on the Kansas City Chiefs (7-1) at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City. Kickoff for this one is scheduled for 1 pm ET.
The Panthers currently sit in third in the NFC South, trailing both the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the New Orleans Saints. Coming into this one, Carolina has lost three games in a row, including a 25-17 loss to the lowly Atlanta Falcons at home last week, 25-17. They will look to end the losing streak against the high-powered Chiefs.
Speaking of the Chiefs, they are on a different type of three-game streak as they have won their last three contests. Last Sunday, they took down the winless New York Jets, 35-9, behind 416 yards throwing and five touchdowns from quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
The Chiefs are the heavy favorites in this one as their moneyline to win sits at -520 while the Panthers are +400. The spread features the Panthers +10.5, and the over/under for total points sits at 52.5.
By The Numbers
The Chiefs trail only the Seahawks as the league’s top-scoring offense. They rank 2nd, averaging 31.6 points per game. Carolina comes in ranked 25th averaging 22.4 points per game.
Defensively, it is once again Kansas City that holds the edge. They ranked 3rd in points allowed per game at 19 while the Panthers rank 13th, allowing 24.1 points per game.
Carolina Looks To Snap Skid
It wasn’t that long ago that the Panthers were 3-2 and seemed poised to be a potential contender for a postseason spot. Unfortunately, three straight losses have the Panthers reeling and looking for answers.
Luckily, one big part of the solution may be returning this week in running back Christian McCaffrey. Out since getting injured with a high ankle sprain in Week 2, McCaffrey is set to make his return this Sunday. In a game and a half, McCaffrey had 41 rushes for 156 yards and four scores, so he could immediately be a difference-maker.
Under center for the Panthers is Teddy Bridgewater. On the season, he has thrown for 2,106 yards, nine touchdowns, and six interceptions. His leading receiver has been Robby Anderson, who has 51 catches for 688 yards and a score.
Chiefs Look To Keep Rolling
The Chiefs haven’t just been winning, they have been dominating teams, and they will hope to continue the trend on Sunday.
Leading the Chiefs under center is Mahomes. He has thrown for 2,315 yards, 21 touchdowns, and just a single interception on the season.
Mahomes has plenty of weapons at his disposal, but his two top receivers have been tight end Travis Kelce (48 receptions, 610 yards, six touchdowns) and Tyreek Hill (35 receptions, 537 yards, seven touchdowns).
On the ground, the Chiefs are led by rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire. This season, he has rushed 121 times for 572 yards and two scores. He also has 25 receptions for 204 yards.
Taking The Chiefs Laying The Points
Kansas City is a perfect 4-0 at home this season, and I don’t see that changing in this one, even with a healthy Christian McCaffrey. They are far superior to the Panthers on both sides of the ball, which should make for a relatively easy win. Plus, I expect the Chiefs to lead early, which will force Teddy Bridgewater to have to throw more than he would like.
The real question in this one is the spread. It’s a big number, but they have beaten their last two opponents by an average of 26.5 points. For my money, I am taking Kansas City to win and cover the 10.5 points.