Carolina Panthers (6-10) at San Francisco 49ers (2-14)
NFL Football: Sunday, September 10, 2017 at 4:25 pm (Levi's Stadium)
The Line: San Francisco 49ers +4 -- Over/Under: 48.5 Click to Get Latest Betting Odds
Out in Santa Clara at Levi’s Stadium on Sunday, the Carolina Panthers and the San Francisco 49ers will be kicking off their NFL seasons in Week 1 action.
The Panthers are coming off a disappointing campaign in 2016, finishing 6-10 and in last place in the NFC South. Carolina got off to a 1-5 start and struggled with injuries for much of the year. Notable adds to the team this season include OT Matt Kalil, CB Captain Munnerlyn and OLB Julius Peppers.
The Panthers finished 2-2 in the preseason, recording wins over the Texans 27-17 and the Jaguars 24-23. The pair of losses came against Tennessee 34-27 and Pittsburgh 17-14. In that Steelers game, Panthers QB Joe Webb went 8-for-12 for 88 yards and a TD, but was also picked off twice. Kaelin Clay was Carolina’s leading receiver with three catches for 76 yards.
Over on the 49ers’ side, they’re fresh off a pretty abysmal 2-14 record, with their only two wins coming over the Rams. This led to the firings of Chip Kelly and Trent Baalke. For the 2017 campaign, Kyle Shanahan will take over as head coach, while John Lynch steps into the GM role.
The 49ers went 2-2 in the preseason, sandwiching losses to the Broncos 33-14 and the Vikings 32-31 in between wins over Kansas City (27-17) and the Chargers (23-13). In that LA game, QBs Nick Mullens and CJ Beathard combined for just 65 yards and a pick on 12-of-19 passing, but Beathard also had 80 yards on three rushes with a touchdown.
The Panthers are 4-1 ATS in their last five games on grass, and 3-1-1 ATS in their last five road games. Carolina is also 3-7-1 ATS in their last 11 versus the NFC and 2-6 ATS in their last eight games in Week 1.
Meanwhile, the 49ers are 6-0 ATS in the last six games in Week 1 and 3-8 ATS in their last 11 versus the NFC. San Francisco is also 1-4 ATS in their last five games in September and 1-6 in their last seven home games.
There’s no need to sugar-coat anything here; both of these teams will likely have significant difficulties being competitive this season. If Carolina can stay healthy they may do a little damage, but the Niners seem to be in full-on rebuilding mode. The big issue for the Panthers is keeping Cam Newton (who should play here) healthy. If Newton comes out on the field with little to no rust showing the Panthers have a shot at a dominant win. I’ll take Carolina.