The line on this has moved down to 3.5 since I published my week 10 preview last night. I also explained why that move would be made ands that I liked the move. It’s still not too late to get a good number on the Panthers as they probably win this one outright.
Carolina is statistically far better than the Steelers up to this point. The Panthers are ranked 3rd in overall efficiency (5th offensive, 16th defensive, 6th Special Teams) compared to the Steelers 11th overall ranking (8th offense, 21st defensive, 24th ST). What the Steelers are that the Panthers are not though, is a very public team. They have a huge fanbase all around the world and their successful reputation has kept them in the NFLs spotlight. They also have a lot of star power with Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell depsite him not yet reporting to the team. Their big plays get a lot more attention than the Panthers efficient running game. This is the only reason they are favored because the Panthers have looked like a much better team. I have been saying since pre-season that the Panthers get no respect and they still are not. They won each of their last two games by two scores where they took their foot off the gas early. They should be well rested for this game which is especially important in this short week. The Steelers on the other hand are coming off a very physical game in Baltimore. They have lost 3 of their last 4 games following wins against the Ravens, including both games last year. I think tonight makes it 4 out of 5.
After the Panthers win tonight I expect them to be at least 6 point favorites next week in Detroit. This is the Panthers first game in prime time this year which will thrust them into the spotlight as an NFC contender. I expect their offense to be clicking tonight on a short week. The Panthers have a bunch of offensive weapons and I expect them all to be on display tonight. The Steelers defense has been mediocre this year and has struggled when facing competent offenses. That has not been an issue for them in their four game winning streak against the Falcons, Bengals, Browns and Ravens. I think the Panthers race out to a big lead tonight before the Steelers start to fight back a little bit and make it close. I don’t think there is any way the Steelers can win by more than a field goal.
Carolina Panthers +3.5