Luck, Colts Will Be In Tough When They Visit Newton, Panthers On Monday Night Football
The Indianapolis Colts are coming off another tough loss in which they found a way to hurt their chances with turnovers and penalties. It won’t get any easier for them this week against another NFC South opponent. The Colts are coming off a 27-21 loss to the New Orleans Saints in which they turned the ball over three times while quarterback Andrew Luck was hit 10 times including four sacks. Those are terrible numbers regardless of the opponent but the fact that it was the Saints that were able to beat up on Luck is testament to how bad things have gotten for Indianapolis. The margin for error is about to get a lot slimmer with the Colts set to visit the Carolina Panthers on Monday Night Football with both quarterbacks in the spotlight but for opposite reasons.
Indianapolis Colts @ Carolina Panthers
Monday November 2, 2015 – 8:30 PM ET
NFL Betting Line: Carolina -7
There was a lot of talk heading in to this season about Luck as a potential MVP for an Indianapolis team that seemed to have everything they needed to contend for a Super Bowl but they have stumbled out of the gate and if it wasn’t for a relatively weak AFC South division the Colts would be facing an uphill climb just to make the playoffs. Meanwhile, Cam Newton has emerged as a potential MVP candidate after helping Carolina improve to 6-0 and while it hasn’t always been pretty the bottom line is that the Panthers have kept on winning despite dealing with a ton of injuries on the offensive side of the football. Newton doesn’t have his No. 1 receiver Kelvin Benjamin and this year’s second round pick Devin Funchess has dealt with injuries and a slow start to his NFL career but he has still managed to throw for 1,275 yards and nine touchdowns. Newton has also been a lot more aggressive when it comes to running the football as he has 245 rushing yards with two touchdowns. His ability to make something out of nothing has been talked about a lot this year and it’s a big reason why Carolina is undefeated heading in to Week 8. Meanwhile, the Panthers defense has been one of the best in the NFL as they rank sixth against the pass and 12th against the run. Carolina is also tied for the seventh-most takeaways in the NFL this year including nine interceptions and they will undoubtedly be ball hawking on Monday night as they try to force Luck to turn the ball over. Turnovers aren’t the only issue Indianapolis will have to deal with either as they have struggled to consistently run the football on offense and stop the run on defense. That is a bad combination heading in to a game where the Panthers will be able to take advantage of both of those weaknesses and it won’t surprise anybody when Carolina covers the seven-point spread with a big home win to improve to 8-0 on Monday Night Football.
Pick: Carolina -7
The combination of turnovers and a reliance on the passing game should lead to this being a higher scoring contest with the Panthers having little problem scoring against this Indianapolis defense while the Colts continue to air it out as they play from behind. Indy should score enough to push this game over the total just don’t expect them to cover on the road in a tough environment against a very good Carolina team.