A marquee NFC showdown kicks off Week 9 of the NFL season as the Packers take their act to the road to take on the still undefeated Carolina Panthers. Green Bay is fresh off an embarrassing outing last week vs. Denver, where Aaron Rodgers and that high-octane offense really struggled against an elite defense. It’s not going to get any easier this week as Carolina poses many of the same issues for Green Bay. Conversely, the sceptics are still out on the Panthers and their overall legitimacy. They haven’t had an overly impressive win vs. an elite foe just yet, and this week could mark the opportunity for a statement win. It promises to be a great match-up of two of the league’s best, so read on below for a detailed game breakdown and an official betting pick to begin your Sunday action for Week 9.
Packers vs. Panthers Betting Odds:
Green Bay Packers -3 (-110)
@ Carolina Panthers +3 (-110)
Over 46.5 (-115)
Under 46.5 (-105)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Packers vs. Panthers Pick:
It’s not very often you hear Aaron Rodgers being held to less than 100 yards passing, but that’s exactly what occurred last week vs. the Broncos. He really struggled as he was limited to just 77 yards, and showed a real lack of poise with pressure in his face and his receivers covered. Is the blueprint out on Rodgers? It’s worth mentioning that the Panthers too have an excellent defense, and while they haven’t faced someone of Rodgers’ calibre, if the Packers QB is anywhere near the level he was at last week, Carolina’s going to go to 8-0 by week’s end.
Carolina simply gets after opposing quarterbacks. They pride themselves on applying a ton of pressure, and Green Bay hasn’t been able to pass protect all that well of late. Carolina has a brilliant secondary, led by the best in the game right now in Josh Norman. Expect Norman to completely take away Randall Cobb and limit Rodgers’ options from the outset. With all of these uncertainties through the air, Green Bay’s best option is to utilize Eddie Lacy in the running game. Carolina is solid in this area too, but nowhere near the level of their elite secondary. If the Packers are to be successful in Week 9, it’ll need to mostly be on the legs of Eddie Lacy.
For Carolina’s offense, if they keep doing what they’ve been doing, they’ll find success. Like Green Bay, it’s expected they’ll dish out a healthy serving of the run game on Sunday. Jonathan Stewart has looked great of late against a pretty brutal Packers’ run defense. They rank 22nd in the NFL in yards per carry entering this game, and it stands to get worse against the Panthers.
While I lean to the Panthers to pull off the very minor upset, it’s tough to go against Aaron Rodgers when better bets exist on the board. Given the nature of this game, and the fact that I think Green Bay’s offense will struggle to move the chains, and both teams will look to heavily employ the run game – I think definite value on the Under 46.5 points exists. Despite the talent on Green Bay’s offense, this is a bad matchup vs. a Panthers’ defense that is designed to shut them down. On the other side, Carolina’s offense still lacks explosiveness and they allow teams to stay close in games. They know Jonathan Stewart is their ticket to victory today, so look for lots of running plays on Sunday. Take the Under 46.5 as the Panthers squeak out a tight, low-scoring victory at home to Green Bay.
PICK = Under 46.5 (-105)