The Carolina Panthers aim to extend their current straight-up win streak in preseason action to three games when they visit the New England Patriots on Friday night. Meanwhile, New England, with wins in nine of its last 12 preseason contests, looks to reward loyal sports bettors as a Panthers vs Patriots prediction in this week’s matchup at Gillette Stadium.
Panthers vs Patriots Odds & Analysis
Since opening as a 1.5-point favorite, Carolina has strengthened its position as a popular Panthers vs Patriots prediction while vaulting to 2-point road chalk. With the OVER paying out in each of these teams’ past two August outings, the total has steadily risen since opening at 38, climbing to its current position at 41.
Quarterback Battle Heating Up In Carolina
The Carolina Panthers ended the 2021 NFL season on a dismal 2-12 SU run but have produced far steadier results in preseason action. With a 23-21 road win over the Washington Commanders in last week’s preseason opener, the Panthers have now won three of their last five August contests. Their 3-1-1 run against the spread also strengthens them as a Panthers vs Patriots pick.
Despite their recent August success, the Panthers still face big decisions, particularly under center. Baker Mayfield emerged as the presumptive favorite to take over starting quarterback duties after being acquired from the Cleveland Browns in an offseason trade. However, neither Mayfield nor Sam Darnold set themselves apart in last week’s win. The duo are expected to continue their battle for the No. 1 job this week, both in joint practices with New England and in Friday’s contest.
Play-Calling Controversy Brewing In New England
Quarterback Mac Jones saw no action in last week’s preseason-opening loss to the Giants. While it is unclear how much action Jones will see on Friday night, the bigger question facing New England is who will be calling the plays. Newly minted offensive line coach Matt Patricia handled the play calling for veteran Brian Hoyer, who played the first quarter last week. Patricia handed duties off to quarterbacks coach Joe Judge, who guided rookie Bailey Zappe the rest of the way.
Both quarterbacks contributed scoring passes, with Zappe throwing for 205 yards behind an offensive line devoid of starters. However, special attention should be paid to this week’s joint practices with Carolina, which are likely to drive head coach Bill Belichick’s decisions concerning starters’ playing time and who will be guiding the offense.
Panthers vs Patriots Pick & Insights
Panthers: Keys To Cover
All eyes will be on Sam Darnold and Baker Mayfield as the battle for the starting pivot’s job heats up. But it is Carolina’s defensive play that is likely to determine the Panthers’ fate. Despite last year’s season-ending swoon, the Panthers managed to finish the campaign with the NFL’s second-ranked defense.
That trend continued last week as the Panthers limited Washington to just one drive inside the red zone before allowing a pair of big scoring drives late in the contest. After enjoying plenty of opportunities to get a look at the Patriots attack during joint practices, another strong defensive outing could boost Carolina’s position as a Panthers vs Patriots prediction.
Patriots: Keys To Cover
Did Bill Belichick see enough in last week’s loss to New York to make firm decisions about who really controls this offense, or will Friday night’s contest serve as yet another audition to be the team’s play caller? Just as important is the performance of the Patriots defense, which will have its hands full against the hungry duo of Darnold and Mayfield. The Patriots pass defense ranked second in the NFL last season, but struggled at times last week to contain veteran passers Daniel Jones and Tyrod Taylor.
NFL Computer Pick: Patriots +2
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