Thursday night matchup between Panthers and Steelers will have playoff implications
November 08, 2018 9:15 AM
by Bob Christ
Unlike last week's Bay Area snoozer, this week's Thursday night matchup between the Carolina Panthers and Pittsburgh Steelers will have major playoff implications since both teams enter Week 10 with only two losses.
The Steelers hold a half-game edge in the AFC North, while the Panthers are a game back of New Orleans in the NFC South. The weather is supposed to be clear with temps in the mid- to high 30s and hardly any wind.
The odds are courtesy of Westgate Las Vegas. Now for a closer look at the game.
Carolina Panthers (5-3) at Pittsburgh Steelers (5-2-1)
Time: 5:20 p.m. PST
Line: Steelers by 4 (52)
Facts: Both teams are in good spirits after coming off division wins, with the Steelers avenging a Week 4 loss to the Ravens with a 23-16 win last Sunday in Baltimore. The Panthers, meanwhile, were running away from Tampa Bay 42-28, with QB Cam Newton having a 133.2 passer rating, second last week only to SF first-time starter Nick Mullens (151.9)... Who needs Le'Veon Bell? Pittsburgh RB James Conner stands second on the rushing chart (706 yards, 4.7 norm) and has had four straight 100-yard games. For the other guys, RB Christian McCaffrey has 502 yards and a 4.5 average... Pittsburgh QB Ben Roethlisberger was 28-for-47 with two TDs and without an interception last week despite a fractured left index finger. He's listed as probable. Carolina's Newton (shoulder) and TE Greg Olsen (foot) also are probable.
Analysis: This is a bad spot for the Panthers, who have gone 1-4 ATS (2-3 Thursdays during the careers of Newton and coach Ron Rivera, with Newton having four TD throws and seven interceptions. Plus, they're playing on the road, where teams on mega-short rest this season have gone 2-6 ATS/SU. Then there's the matter of age. This season, the team with an average age younger than its foes (that would be Pittsburgh in this case) has gone 7-1 on Thursday nights and 6-1-1 ATS. just before the season. And with Newton, in his eighth year, nursing a sore shoulder, will three-days' rest be enough after rushing 11 times last week, his highest total since Week 1.
Forecast: Steelers 28, Panthers 17