Carolina Panthers (8-9-1) at Buffalo Bills (9-7)
|Date & Time||Friday August 14, 2015, 7:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Buffalo Bills -3 -- Over/Under: 35.5
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The Carolina Panthers and Buffalo Bills play preseason ball Friday night at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
The Carolina Panthers head into the season with hopes to make the playoffs for a third straight season. Offensively, the Panthers are looking for a far more consistent Cam Newton, and another season of Kelvin Benjamin and the addition of Devin Funchess should help provide just that. Cameron Artis-Payne has a chance to be a breath of fresh air to a questionable backfield. Derek Anderson and Joe Webb will get the bulk of the reps as they battle it out for the backup QB job. Defensively, the Panthers were one of the best in the league last season and that shouldn’t change much with Luke Kuechly and Star Lotulelei holding down the fort. Keep a close eye on rookie Shaq Thompson and second-year cornerback Bené Benwikere, two guys who can be special.
The Buffalo Bills head into the season with a new coach and a new roster that has a lot of promise. The additions of Percy Harvin and LeSean McCoy have Buffalo fans thinking playoffs, as the offense has improved greatly on paper. Now it’s just a matter of finding a reliable starting quarterback, as EJ Manuel and Matt Cassel don’t exactly scream anything positive. Expect both guys to see a lot of reps and for Tyrod Taylor to play late in the second half. Defensively, the Bills have no worries at all with the fourth-best defense returning most of their key pieces and Rex Ryan now on the staff. Besides the usual guys, I’m looking for big performances from the younger guys such as Ronald Darby, Corbin Bryant and Jimmy Gaines.
The Bills are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games overall. The road team is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 meetings.
The Bills are a lot deeper at quarterback than the Panthers, and they're going to play their more experienced guys a lot longer than the Panthers given the battle that's going on. Also, Taylor usually always plays well in preseason games. I really like the Bills to take this game at home.