Carolina Panthers vs. Pittsburgh Steelers - 9/21/14 NFL Pick and Odds
Pittsburgh Steelers (1-1) at Carolina Panthers (2-0)
NFL Football: Sunday, September 21, 2014 at 8:30 pm (Bank of America Stadium)
The Line: Carolina Panthers -3.5 -- Over/Under: 41.5 See the Latest Odds
The Carolina Panthers put their unbeaten record on the line when the Pittsburgh Steelers make their way to Bank of America Stadium Sunday night.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have had a week and a half to prepare for this game after getting blown out by the Baltimore Ravens last Thursday. The issue for the Steelers has been a lack of run defense, as they rank 29th in the league with an average of 170 yards given up. That’s not exactly what we’re used to seeing from a Pittsburgh defense. Offensively, Ben Roethlisberger is completing 63.4 percent of his passes but hasn’t been the difference maker he has been in the past. The Steelers running game is as strong as ever, averaging 4.8 yards per carry led by Le'Veon Bell’s 168 rushing yards on 32 touches. The Pittsburgh Steelers are allowing 356 total yards and have forced three sacks and zero turnovers. Troy Polamalu leads the Steelers with 19 tackles and rookie Ryan Shazier has 17 tackles.
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The Carolina Panthers steamrolled the Detroit Lions and are looking like that same feisty team from a year ago. Cam Newton returned to complete 64.7 percent of his passes for a touchdown, and he’s developed a solid connection already with rookie Kelvin Benjamin, who is second on the team with 138 receiving yards. The Panthers already have eight receiving plays for 20 or more yards, which is something most wouldn’t have expected heading into the season with a bunch of no name wide receivers. It’s the Panthers running game that needs some tweaking, as they’re averaging just 3.1 yards per carry. Defensively, the Carolina Panthers are still great, allowing just 293.5 yards per game and forcing six turnovers and seven sacks. Luke Kuechly leads the Panthers with 20 tackles and Dwan Edwards has 2.5 sacks.
The Steelers are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games in Week 3 and 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games overall. The Panthers are 7-1-1 ATS in their last 9 home games and 10-4-1 ATS in their last 15 games overall. The Steelers are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 meetings.
The Steelers defense looks nothing like the Steelers defense, which is concerning going up against an athletic quarterback such as Cam Newton. Meanwhile, the Carolina Panthers may have the best defense in the NFL. I like the Panthers to win and cover this game, but I may consider buying the half a point to get the spread to an even 3 points.