Two of the NFL’s most exciting young quarterbacks square off Sunday afternoon as Cam Newton and his Carolina Panthers travel to upstate New York to do battle with E.J. Manuel and the Buffalo Bills. Both Carolina and the Bills are coming off disheartening losses against legitimate Super Bowl contenders. For the Bills, they had the Patriots on the ropes for the majority of last week’s game, before letting them off the hook late in the game. The Panthers too looked to be in control against the powerful Seahawks, before taking their foot off the pedal and allowing Russell Wilson to will his team back into the lead in the late stages of the game. Both the Panthers and the Bills will surely be eager to rid themselves of what could have been, and this remains an important game for two average squads trying to take that next step into playoff contention. One big focus for the Bills this year was to improve their play in front of their hometown fans. It has been a long while since the Bills held a decisive home-field advantage, and they’d ideally like to set the tone today against the Panthers. Whether they can or not will be sorted out below. Read on for our first official selection of Week 2, as we enter the week with a 2-2 record.
Panthers at Bills Betting Odds:
Carolina Panthers -3 (-115)
@ Buffalo Bills +3 (-105)
Over 44 (-105)
Under 44 (-115)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Panthers at Bills Pick:
Expect quite the exciting affair Sunday afternoon between these two teams. Both Newton and E.J. Manuel have the natural ability to simply move the football. While the Panthers and Bills’ defenses are nothing special, with those two young QB’s at the helm, there is rarelya dull moment.
Last week the Panthers were in control against a powerful Seahawks team, until Russell Wilson and his heralded attack took over. One of the big downsides for Carolina in Week 1 was their inability to move the football. Drives were continually stalled and Cam Newton didn’t look as good as he usually does. I’d chalk that up mostly being a result of taking on one of the game’s premier defenses in Seattle. Newton can, and will have a much easier time this week against a Buffalo defense that has been one of the NFL’s worst in recent years. The young Carolina quarterback has all the tools to decimate the Bills when he’s got the football, and expect that to happen regularly come Sunday afternoon.
Buffalo has lost two of their top-four cornerbacks to lengthy injuries, with Ron Brooks joining Stephon Gilmore on the shelf. Not to mention free safety Jairus Byrd is also slated to be absent for today’s contest. Newton can do it all, and look for him to be equally as dangerous through the air as he can be with his feet today. Another area of concern for the Bills has to be their atrocious run defense. For all of their alleged talent up front, they’ve struggled recently when it comes to stopping the run game. Going against a Panthers squad that boasts the talented DeAngelo Williams, and Cam Newton will not fare well. The Panthers have a versatile attack and this is a bad, bad match-up for a Bills defense that does not seem keen on ever improving. In Week 1, the Bills were shredded for 162 yards on 30 carries against New England’s mediocre running back corps. Expect that number to be even higher today.
Do not be fooled by the Bills keeping their game in Week 1 close against the powerful Patriots. This is a team that will struggle this season, and are not in the class of the Panthers. E.J. Manuel was let off easy in Week 1, and look for an imposing Panthers’ front-seven to be all over him early and often. Middle linebacker Luke Kuechly will blitz frequently disrupting Manuel’s timing and rhythm in the pocket, perhaps forcing the Florida State grad into some turnovers along the way. Ultimately this is a game that will not go well for the Bills. After coming off a tough loss against the Pats, expect an equally as disappointing one against the Panthers today. Carolina is tough up front on defense, and will be able to exploit all of Bills defensive holes when they’ve got the ball. Laying just three points is a solid wager for Week 2, and we’ll ride with Newton and the Panthers today.
PICK = Carolina -3 (-115)