The Panthers have looked good thus far this season, especially Cam Newton under the tutelage of Norv Turner. Unfortunately for them, however, they have to travel to Pittsburgh to face the Steelers next Thursday night. Both teams are proving to be viable playoff teams as they sport a 4-2-1 record and a 5-2 record respectively.
Panthers vs. Steelers Odds
Odds: Pittsburgh Steelers -5
Panthers vs. Steelers Head to Head
These two teams have met often, as recently as the preseason of this year. The Steelers have owned the matchup of late, at least in the preseason, winning 39 – 24 in August, then again last year in the preseason 17 – 14. Before that though, when the games mattered, the Panthers defeated the Steelers by a score of 18 -6. I don’t expect the Steelers to be held to single digits in this one though. Their offense is a well-oiled machine, even without their bell cow at running back.
Panthers vs. Steelers Stats
The Panthers and Steelers both have strong defenses and elite quarterbacks. The Steelers happen to have the league’s best receiver also, which helps them dominate opposing defenses. The Steelers offense ranks 4th in the league, mostly due to Big Ben and his arm. The black and gold boast the second-best passing attack in the league to this point. They use short passes and screens to supplement their running game which shows as a meager 22nd best in the NFL, a stat we are not used to seeing with them.
On defense, the steel curtain is not quite as galvanized as it has been historically, but they still rank in the middle of the pack at 16. The Panthers will challenge them with the second-best rushing attack in the league. Cam has been efficient with his arm, but not overwhelming, reaching the 22nd best slot in the league in passing. Defense is ranked in the upper half for the Panthers at 13th. Keep in mind, they have yet to see the high-flying Saints this season. The Steelers offense may be the biggest test yet for the Panthers.
Panthers vs. Steelers News
Le’Veon Bell continues to sit out and cause some disruption in the Steelers’ locker room, but James Conner also continues to show he can fill the role well enough to remain a feature back. The Panthers also made some noise in terms of locker room disruptions by signing Eric Reid, made famous for taking knees next to Colin Kaepernick. Thus far, Reid’s presence has not been known to cause any issues internally for the team, however.
Panthers vs. Steelers Predictions
I’ll take the Steelers to win at home by at least 10 points. I’ll take them in a score of 27-13.
I expect the Steelers pass rush to reach Cam a few times and to cause some errant throws. I don’t trust the defensive backfield of the Panthers to stop or even slow down the production of that high flying passing attack led by Antonio Brown.