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Up 24-9 and seemingly on their way to an impressive road win at Oakland, the Buffalo Bills melted down in a big way as the Raiders closed the game with four unanswered touchdowns.

The end result was a 38-24 loss that dropped the Bills to 6-6 and put the team in the position of likely needing to “win out” in order to reach the playoffs. As for Sunday’s game, Buffalo led by 15 points midway through the third quarter behind a bend-but-don’t-break defense that held Oakland to three field goals.

But the defense wilted and Oakland started moving the football with ease as Derek Carr hit on multiple big plays to Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper. Buffalo’s 24-9 lead turned into a 30-24 deficit with the nail in the coffin coming when Tyrod Taylor was hit as he threw the football from his own end zone and the ball was picked off, giving Oakland instant field position en route to yet another touchdown.

The Bills are now two games behind the final Wild Card spot in the AFC. Their schedule to finish the season is manageable with three home games in a row as they host Pittsburgh this week followed by Cleveland and Miami. They close out the regular season on the road against the NY Jets.

Despite the loss, the team in theory should be able to rally behind the favorable remaining slate. However, there’s also a chance the defeat lingers and Buffalo hasn’t exactly been a hot commodity in the betting markets with just one pointspread cover in its last six tries. Their inability to live up to market expectations coupled with the potential to “pack in the season” suggests this team remain “bet against” rather than “bet on.”

The Carolina Panthers dropped to 4-8 after their 40-7 blowout loss at Seattle on Sunday. If Carolina wasn’t already out of the playoff chase, they most assuredly are now. The Panthers have been dealt significant injuries along the offensive line which only has one healthy Week 1 starter. The defense lost its leader in Luke Kuechly a few weeks ago and they’ve allowed 75 points in two games without him on the field.

It was a very quiet, pale faced sideline in the second half of the loss to the Seahawks and every bettor should question whether or not this team has any fight left.

This is a squad that has been to the playoffs three straight times including last year’s Super Bowl run. Now, at 4-8, you have a high exception team essentially playing for exercise.

And let’s not forget that prior to Sunday’s game, the Panthers felt they still had a shot at the postseason. Out of the bye, they beat Arizona and fired right back with a road win at Los Angeles.

They outplayed Kansas City but gave up the game winning field goal as time experience. And then on a short week, beat division rival New Orleans by three and suffered a close 35-32 loss at Oakland the following week.

All told, Carolina played four straight games decided by less than a field goal and then obviously fell flat in a big way against the Seahawks. Physically and emotionally spent, it’s hard to envision much in the way of effort the remainder of the way. And three of their next four opponents — Washington, Atlanta, and Tampa Bay — are all currently in the thick of the playoff race.

Proceed with serious caution with the Carolina Panthers. 

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