The early slate features a few interesting games, but this is one to definitely watch featuring two top 10 teams.
The Panthers lead the all time series 3-2, but the Ravens have won the last 2 matchups dating back to 2010.
The Ravens are coming off a heartbreaking 24-23 loss on the back of a missed extra point that would have sent the game to OT. The Ravens lost 12-9 to the Browns in week 5, and blanked the Titans 21-0 in week 6.
The Panthers were on the other side of a close game last week, beating the Eagles 21-17. In week 5, the Panthers survived the Giants 33-31, and lost 23-17 to the Redskins in week 6.
Betonline currently have the Ravens as 1 point favourites on the road, and the O/U has not been posted yet.
Against a highpowered Saints offense, the Ravens kept up on the scoreboard on the arm of Joe Flacco. Flacco passed for 279 yards and 2 TDs on 23/39 passing. In a game that started slow on both sides, the Ravens took a 10-7 lead into halftime, jumped up to a 17-7 lead in the 3rd quarter, until the Saints scored 17 points unanswered to take a 24-17 lead.
Flacco marched them down the field one final time and got them into the endzone on a pass to John Brown, but Justin Tucker missed his first extra point in his NFL career that would have tied the game up and most likely sent it to OT. John Brown (7/134/1) and Michael Crabtree (5/66/0) continue to be an upgrade at the receiver position, providing Flacco with more talent than he’s had in recent years. The run game was a non factor, but they did get a TD on the ground from Lamar Jackson.
Defensively, I thought they did a nice job of bottling up the Saints run game, as Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram combined for 96 yards on 29 carries. Drew Brees was efficient, but did not nickel and dime them, and most of his yards came on chunk plays. They struggled to get pressure most of the game, as Terrell Suggs recorded their one sack.
Injuries and Inactive Watch
OG Bradley Bozeman (calf) – left game, DNR, questionable
The Panthers rallied furiously in the 4th quarter, scoring 21 unanswered points in a huge comeback win over Philly. Carolina ran just 19 offensive plays in the first half (39 in 2nd) and punted 5 times (once in 2nd) as they fell behind 17-0. Cam Newton ended the game with 269 passing yards and 2 TDs on 25/39 passing, and added 7 carries for 49 yards.
Christian McCaffrey was obsolete in the run game, rushing 7 times for 29 times, with 15 coming on one run. He did catch 6 balls for 51 yards, and Devin Funchess caught 6 balls of his own for 62 yards and a TD. On the final drive, Newton had an incredible 4th down conversion to Torrey Smith, leading to a goal line leak pass to Greg Olsen to take the lead.
The defense did it’s job in the final minutes, other than a pass interference, by intercepting a ball which was overturned (it should have been a pick IMO), and strip sacking Carson Wentz to effectively end the game. The majority of the game, they struggled to contain Zach Ertz and Alshon Jeffery (226 yards combined). They shut down the run game, allowing just 55 yards to Philly RBs, and got a fair amount of pressure, but Wenz really diced them up.
Injuries and Inactive Watch
EDGE Mario Addison (back) – left game, DNR, questionable
In what is essentially a pick-em game, I’m excited to see how the Ravens try to contain Cam Newton, and how Carolina attacks a fierce Baltimore secondary. Baltimore offensively has the talent to take advantage of Carolina’s suspect defensive back group, and the offensive line to contain the Panthers pass rush, but it depends on which Baltimore offense shows up, because we’ve seen some real dud weeks (see: Cleveland, week 5).
Carolina is still a team that can attack you a lot of different ways, and you have to expect them to stay a bit more committed to the run game after giving CMC just 7 carries last week. Regardless, I think this game comes down to the wire, and in that case, we give the edge to the better QB, who in this case is a home dog. We will take Carolina to cover and win outright, but it is gonna be a close one.
Final Pick: Carolina (+1) and MoneyLine