Carolina @ Pittsburgh
Vegas: PIT -3.5
DomModel: PIT +1.918
Recommendation: CAR +3.5
-WR Torrey Smith (knee) was injured week 7. He was INACTIVE week 8 – 9. He missed practice all week and is OUT week 10.
-RT Daryl Williams (knee) has been placed on IR.
-RB Le’Veon Bell remains absent with a case of the bad agent.
-RT Marcus Gilbert (knee) was INACTIVE week 8 and 9. He is OUT week 10.
When Carolina has the ball:
We’ve been on Carolina a lot this season, and it’s been fun to watch them grow into what they’ve become. Though the offensive line leaves a lot to be desired, the problems really stop there.
Football Outsider’s ranks Christian McCaffrey and the Panthers run game as the best in football. CMC himself is averaging a cool 4.6 ypc while playing on virtually every snap.
Cam Newton’s stat line: 67.3%, 1,893 yards, 15 TDs, 4 picks. He’s been overshadowed by guys like Mahomes, Brees, and Goff this year – but he’s still playing like the top tier QB that he is. His receiving options consists of a now healthy Greg Olsen, CMC, Devin Funchess, and first round selection DJ Moore.
Don’t overlook this offense.
The Steelers defense has holes. Their front seven is solid. Guys like Bud Depree, TJ Watt, and Cameron Heyward can get pressure on the QB, while Stephon Tuitt and Jon Bostic play well against the run. The problem is they don’t have great cover corners or reliable safeties. It’s a classic example of a productive front 7 without reliable defensive backs.
TL;DR Conclusion: Though Pittsburgh’s defense can be resilient at times, the Panthers offense should have success here.
When Pittsburgh has the ball:
These guys can play, but you probably already knew that. I argue right now that their offensive line is the best in football (though I won’t fight you if you take the Rams). You know all about Big Ben, Antonio Brown, and JuJu Smith-Schuster. How about James Conner already with 10 trips to the end zone. Didn’t the Steelers used to have some other RB?
Carolina is the wrong kind of defense in 2018 — the one that can’t stop the pass. They don’t have a single player on their team with 30 pressures (hint: that’s bad). On top of that, they can’t seem to cover. I will take a second to call out how well CB James Bradberry played last game, holding Mike Evans to one measly catch.. but we won’t expect that to continue.
Their run defense is a different story — good luck running on guys like Kawann Short, Luke Kuechly, and Julius Peppers.
TL:DR Conclusion: Though I do expect Pittsburgh to have success against Pittsburgh, being on the right side of the 3 point hook is simply too much against Carolina.
That’s it for now, bitches.