Two impressive NFC teams will square off during the second wave of Sunday’s NFL action in beautiful San Francisco. The 6-0 49ers will host the equally surprising 4-2 Carolina Panthers in what could have big-time playoff implications down the road.
When Panthers’ quarterback Cam Newton went down to injury earlier this season, many predicted that was it for Carolina in 2019. However, they’ve been rejuvenated with young play caller Kyle Allen under centre, and it remains to be seen how the franchise will handle Newton’s pending return. For Week 8 though, it’s Allen – and he’ll face the biggest test of his young career on the road, against a ferocious Niners’ defense. It will make for must-see TV.
For San Francisco, they’ve been as good as advertised and it’s clear that their undefeated record through the first seven weeks is not a mirage. This team is loaded, and plays football the right way. This week, they went out and enhanced their passing game, securing Emmanuel Sanders from the Broncos. There’s big-time value for San Fran in trying to lock down a playoff spot early, and pushing for homefield advantage in a supremely competitive NFC West division – but for a franchise that has had so many bitter memories over the past few seasons, this has to feel good.
This matchup has all the makings of a great football game, and should provide football fans with lots of answers. Just how real are the 49ers? And just how good is Kyle Allen? Read on below the odds for our takes on both of these questions, as well as a tactical analysis and betting prediction for Carolina vs. San Francisco in Week 8 action.
Panthers vs. 49ers Betting Odds:
Carolina Panthers +5 (-110)
@ San Francisco 49ers -5 (-110)
Over 40.5 (-105)
Under 40.5 (-115)
Panthers vs. 49ers Pick:
It’s clear that the 49ers believe in their group and are very much ‘all-in’ on competing for a Super Bowl this season. The trade for Emmanuel Sanders proves that, though don’t count on the talented receiver being able to make too much of an impact this week. Carolina does boast a stellar secondary, and Sanders really hasn’t had that much time to learn the playbook or schemes of the Niners. It’s always tough to join a team mid-way through the year, and the odds remain stacked against Sanders to make huge contributions.
More of a concern however for San Francisco has to be the current status of their offensive line. On Sunday, they’re slated to be down two of their starting tackles, Joe Staley and Mike McGlinchey. That’s bad news for the protection of Jimmy Garoppolo and great news for a ferocious and hungry pass rush of the Panthers. Expect Carolina to send many players to disrupt Jimmy G’s timing and rhythm in the pocket, and they should be a disruptive bunch. Garoppolo has had trouble in the past making quick decisions, and that could make moving the chains tough to do on Sunday afternoon.
Speaking of great pass rushes, the Niners arguably have the best one in the league, led by Nick Bosa, Dee Ford, and DeForest Buckner. And while the Panthers do have a pretty stellar offensive line, they’ll be tested significantly on Sunday. The trenches could very well decide this contest.
As a result, expect the Panthers to really want to emphasize getting the ball out of Kyle Allen’s hands quickly. In order to do that, don’t be surprised to see them use Christian McCaffrey as a dump-off option and pass catcher from the backfield. He is lethal in space and is as elusive a runner as we’ve seen in the NFL in some time. San Francisco’s linebackers don’t cover well in space either, so look for this to be a path worth exploiting for the Panthers’ offense and Kyle Allen.
At a lofty spread, the mindset shifts towards the underdog here despite the undefeated record of the Niners. Kyle Allen has yet to throw an interception all year for Carolina and should be able to handle this atmosphere and defense in a big spot. Sharp money is reportedly all over the Panthers, and we agree with the line move. Expect the Panthers to turn in another impressive outing and keep things very tight on Sunday.