Undoubtedly the biggest storyline for the NFL entering Week 15 has to be the timely return of Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers. One of the league’s best is back following a broken collarbone, and with his team doing just enough to stay afloat in a tough NFC playoff race – an opportunity is there for the 7-6 Packers.
It won’t be easy though as Green Bay is forced to take to the road right away and battle the 9-4 Carolina Panthers, led by Cam Newton. After a slow start, Newton has been excellent in recent weeks and now that he has tight end Greg Olsen back in the fold, the Panthers’ offense will be a lot to handle. The Panthers are equally desperate – fighting for playoff positioning in a gruelling NFC South division with both the Saints and Falcons.
It’s that time of year – playoff positioning is paramount, and this game signifies that. This contest should be must-watch television, and as always – your betting needs are fully covered right here at The Sports Geek. Read on below for a detailed game breakdown and betting prediction.
Packers vs. Panthers Betting Odds:
Green Bay Packers +3 (-115)
@ Carolina Panthers -3 (-105)
Over 47 (-110)
Under 47 (-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Packers vs. Panthers Pick:
With Rodgers back, it will be fascinating to see how he fares on Sunday. It’s a huge game to be thrown into, but the former MVP should be able to pick up where he left off against the Panthers. What a story it would be if Rodgers comes back and leads the Packers right into the post-season – I know I’m rooting for it.
Still though, we won’t let that affect our betting strategy here in Week 15 but I think there is some real value to be had here with the Packers. Carolina enters this game with some major issues within their secondary. Davante Adams and Jordy Nelson should be able to do some damage, and for the latter player – it’s been a long while since he’s been relevant in a game. Look for that duo to be amped up to have their Pro Bowl QB back, and I think Green Bay should be very successful through the air. Head coach Mike McCarthy said that Rodgers looked real solid in practice, and if he is pretty much fully healthy, you have to love his chances to shred on Sunday.
On the other hand, Green Bay’s secondary is also pretty suspect. Newton has been excellent of late and should be able to do some damage of his own against the Packers. Devin Funchess and Greg Olsen are both due for some solid outings, and they’ve also been a tad porous against the run game of late. Carolina should be able to move the chains as well.
I foresee a shootout here, but one in which I think Green Bay does a bit more overall to get the win. They know it’s basically win or go home, and Aaron Rodgers didn’t come back for just one game. He seems healthier than expected and possesses more dynamic weapons than Carolina. Green Bay can beat teams in a variety of ways, whereas right now for the Panthers it seems like it’s Newton or nothing. Getting points with football’s best QB is always a nice gift, so we’ll take that side as the Packers continue their march to the post-season.
PICK = Packers +3 (-115)