An edit here, as I previously said that the Vikings covered for us Saturday night, when in fact they won but didn’t cover. Sorry about that mix up.
In that encounter, Minnesota rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater looked pretty special. The Louisville grad showed poise in the pocket and excellent offensive instincts. Even though veteran Matt Cassel has been solid this pre-season, expect Bridgewater to feature prominently some point this season. He looks good enough to help them win right now.
Moving onto tonight, we’ve got a great edition of Sunday Night Football between two solid clubs looking to improve in 2014. Cam Newton makes his pre-season debut as his Carolina Panthers host Alex Smith and the Kansas City Chiefs. In both of their opening games, both the starters for Kansas City and Carolina played very limited minutes, and for this week both coaches are already discussing increased minutes for their first-teamers under the national television spotlight. It promises to be an intriguing affair and we’ve again got you covered. Read on below for our featured prediction and further game details for the Chiefs and Panthers.
Chiefs vs. Panthers Betting Odds:
Kansas City Chiefs +3 (+100)
@ Carolina Panthers -3 (-120)
Over 40.5 (-110)
Under 40.5 (-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Chiefs vs. Panthers Pick:
While most starting quarterbacks of teams got some in-game action in the opening week of the pre-season, Cam Newton was not one of them. After enduring some off-season ankle surgery, Newton sat out an extra week and is expected to make his debut tonight against the Chiefs. As a result, it’s not expected Newton will feature for very long. Expect Newton to maybe get a couple of series, while the remaining Panthers starters to stay in for a bit longer with back-up quarterback Derek Anderson.
The Chiefs won their opening week match-up against the Bengals, though it wasn’t at all because of the play from their starters. Kansas City was thoroughly outplayed by Cincinnati in the opening quarter, trailing by ten points. The reason they ultimately got back in the game and ended up winning was because of their great depth. The second-teamers were impressive for the Chiefs and expect that to hold true again tonight.
With the Chiefs starters not looking that good last week, it has already been announced that Andy Reid plans to give Alex Smith and all other first-teamers the entire first half tonight. Though Dwayne Bowe is out and so is Eric Berry, the Chiefs remain a highly competitive team in the always difficult AFC West. They have high aspirations in 2014 and need their starters to get going. Expect a lengthy outing for the Chiefs starters, likely matching up against the Panthers back-ups in the latter parts of the second quarter. Talented running back Jamaal Charles will also get a stern test from the Panthers as they boasted the second best run-defense in 2013.
With this being Newton’s first in-game action of 2014, it seems as if by extension the Panthers starters won’t play anywhere near as much as the Chiefs starters. Also, Kansas City has a ferocious defense, and don’t be surprised if they pressure and knock around a rusty Newton on Saturday. While the Panthers do have better quarterback depth than the Chiefs, with Alex Smith staying in for an entire half, it makes Kansas City’s back-ups less of a factor. It’s not certain who will replace Smith, but both Aaron Murray and Chase Daniel are talented youngsters who enjoyed loads of success as college quarterbacks. Both should be able to show themselves as effective and roster-worthy against Carolina’s second-teamers. Look for the Chiefs to get out to a solid lead in the first half with a group of motivated starters, ultimately holding on to cover the three points in tonight’s encounter.
PICK = Chiefs +3 (+100)