Week 10 has an array of intriguing games, and one of the best ones kicks off during the 1:00 hour as the 6-2 Kansas City Chiefs travel to Carolina to take on the 3-5 Panthers. It has been a bigtime struggle for Cam Newton’s team in 2016, but they’re not giving up hope just yet. They looked alright last week and you bet they are still thinking about the post-season. But it won’t be easy, especially because virtually every game looks like a must-win and the visiting Chiefs are for real. After squeaking by the Jaguars in Week 9 with a depleted group, K.C. is back and much healthier for Carolina. This promises to be a very good game, with massive playoff implications for both teams. After going 15-1 in 2015, could this be a crushing loss for Carolina in 2016? Read on below to find out, with detailed game breakdowns and analysis.
Chiefs vs. Panthers Betting Odds:
Kansas City Chiefs +3 (-105)
@ Carolina Panthers -3 (-115)
Over 44 (-110)
Under 44 (-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Chiefs vs. Panthers Pick:
The Chiefs storming out to a 6-2 record this season is frankly no surprise. Even though they have dealt with their share of injuries this season, the veteran and well-coached group has overcome them and they are getting healthy again for the second half of the season. This week it is expected the Chiefs will get back Spencer Ware at running back and Alex Smith at the quarterback position. Even though Foles was fine last week, Smith remains a huge upgrade and that will bode well for Kansas City’s chances in Carolina.
One big concern for the Panthers has been the anaemic play of their secondary. Since losing Josh Norman, this unit has looked hopeless, and Smith has the personnel in place to exploit it and move the chains consistently. Even though Jeremy Maclin is likely to sit this one out due to injury, Travis Kelce remains a huge downfield threat at the tight end position. The Panthers have not covered tight ends well at all in 2016, and they will struggle with Kelce.
Another area that is perplexing some about Carolina is their offense has sputtered this season. They scored just 13 points last week against Los Angeles, and it is clear that they have struggled taking on defenses with strong edge rushers. The Chiefs have a couple of those, and Newton will be under constant barrage all day. Justin Houston may return this week for Kansas City, adding to an already dynamite group in Tamba Hali and Dee Ford. Carolina simply has nobody that can handle this pass rush, and you can bet Newton will be doing some more whining following this contest about getting hit too much. His offensive line is abysmal and the Chiefs bring a ton of pressure. Sunday won’t be fun for Cam. Really, the Panthers only hope of moving the football consistently might be through the ground game. For whatever reason, Kansas City hasn’t defended the run well in 2016, and Jonathan Stewart may be able to take advantage of this.
Still, this remains a bad matchup for the Panthers. The Chiefs are well-suited to beat them on offence, especially with Alex Smith back. And on defence, they excel in rushing the passer, what Newton absolutely hates. Many feel Carolina is still being priced as if they’re the 2015 version of themselves – they aren’t. The Chiefs are better than Carolina, which makes this 3-point spread a bit baffling. Carolina also needs to play Thursday Night Football of Week 11, which could come into factor for them late with a quick turnaround. All in all, the Chiefs are the far better team, and look for them to at least cover, and probably get that outright win on Sunday.
PICK = Chiefs +3 (-105)