Nobody would have believed you if you said prior to the season that Washington would be in a legitimate playoff hunt by Week 16, and Alex Smith was the quarterback getting the job done. But 2020 has been a wild year overall, and that’s certainly carried over to the NFL.
Washington has a good shot at a playoff spot, but they’ll need to close out their season strong. Unfortunately they won’t have the reliable Alex Smith under centre on Sunday though, which could complicate matters against the 4-10 Carolina Panthers.
Matt Rhule’s Panthers enter with a 4-10 record, but this remains a team that continues to battle despite injuries and misfortune throughout their season. Last time out, they battled hard against the Packers, a sign that there’s little quit within this group, despite having nothing really to play for.
While the Panthers and Washington Football Team aren’t natural rivals, perhaps some within the Panthers’ camp might want to spoil a potential playoff spot from their old coach, Ron RIvera – now with Washington. The Panthers certainly do a lot of things quite well, and that should make Washington’s must-win Sunday all the more intriguing. For further information and a betting preview for this Week 15 clash, continue reading on beneath the posted odds for our take on the Panthers vs. Washington on Sunday.
Carolina Panthers vs. Washington Football Team Betting Odds:
Carolina Panthers -1 (-110)
@ Washington Football Team +1 (-110)
Over 42 (-110)
Under 42 (-110)
*Betting odds provided by BetOnline.ag
Carolina Panthers vs. Washington Football Team Pick:
Washington looked to be the favourite for much of the week in the lead-up to this contest, but hours before game-time it was finalized that Alex Smith wouldn’t be suiting up. That leaves former first-rounder Dwayne Haskins as the starting QB, and his NFL results thus far have been brutal to say the least.
Haskins rarely looks downfield, instead focuses on getting rid of the ball as quickly as possible – before checking down to one of Washington’s running backs. It’s not a steady recipe for offensive success.
Haskins has struggled in the past with pressure, and will likely struggle once again here in Week 15 as one thing the Panthers’ defense does well is generate pressure. They rattled Aaron Rodgers last week in the second half, and if they can bully the Washington offensive line, look for them to be able to force Haskins into hurried situations and mistakes/turnovers.
Carolina doesn’t protect their QB Teddy Bridgewater all that well either, and against Washington’s defensive front, that could be problematic. While it has been reported they’ll get some help in returning offensive linemen, that remains to be seen.
If Bridgewater lacks time and space, expect him to use Mike Davis early and often. The dual-threat back is excellent as a pass catcher, and if Bridgewater can get rid of the ball in time, Davis should be able to do a lot of damage. Washington is really banged-up right now with their linebackers, and weakness there could open up a ton for the Panthers’ offense.
Washington has fared well against brutal teams, and now they’re getting priced like a good, playoff-bound squad. They aren’t, especially with Haskins under centre. They have a ton of flaws and their offense might be the worst in football. Without Terry McLaurin at receiver, they won’t be able to move the chains, while the Panthers should be able to at least have Mike Davis carry their offense. Carolina has more routes to success in this one, and expect Matt Rhule’s group to continue with their stellar form of late, ultimately spoiling Washington’s season.