Jaguars Panthers Betting – Ground Game Powers Panthers To First Win Of 2011
The Jaguars were overwhelmed from start to finish in a 32-3 beating at the hands of the New York Jets on the road in Week 2, even though they managed to run the ball well (112 yards on 27 carries, including 88 on 18 carries for Maurice Jones-Drew) against one of the better defenses in the league. But Luke McCown was a mess, going 6-of-19 for 59 yards and four picks for a passer rating of 1.8, the worst in Jacksonville history and that says all you need to know about him. First-round pick Blaine Gabbert came on to go 5-of-6 for 52 yards, and head coach Jack Del Rio has decided to give the rookie his first start in the NFL against the Panthers. The Jaguars really don’t have a choice but to throw Gabbert into the fire, but after a cameo against the Jets last week, Carolina shouldn’t intimidate Gabbert, who starred at the University of Missouri before passing on his senior year.
However, this puts even more pressure on Jones-Drew, who has averaged around 300 carries a season over the past two years behind some average offenses under David Garrard. The Jaguars figure to run even more now with a rookie quarterback, but it likely would have happened under McCown as well. The defense managed to pick off Mark Sanchez twice, and they out-rushed the Jets by 11 yards, but McCown’s turnovers often put them in bad positions and the Jets ended up converting three of their four red-zone opportunities.Why Bet On Carolina Panthers (0-2 SU, 1-1 ATS)
Cam Newton followed up his rookie record-setting performance from Week 1 with 432 yards in a 30-23 loss to Green Bay at home, and even though he was picked off three times, the Heisman winner from Auburn fired his team back in the game in the fourth quarter. Newton completed 28-of-46, while running for 53 yards and a score, while Steve Smith (156 yards on eight catches) and running back Jonathan Stewart (100 yards on eight catches) both hit the century mark for the Panthers, who have gone away from running the ball, but that’s not surprising with a talent like Newton. The Panthers were actually up 13-0 early in the second quarter, but then Green Bay showed why they’re the defending Super Bowl champions.
Still, Carolina can take pride in their effort against the Packers and that should carry over this week. They need to re-establish the run with Stewart and DeAngelo Williams to take some of the pressure off Newton, lowering his chances to throw picks. The defense, even though they gave up 30 points and 419 yards, actually played well outside of a couple big passing plays, holding the Packers to three field goals when they threatened to run away in the third quarter, and they stopped Green Bay on three of four trips to the red zone. It was a very encouraging performance by the Panthers and if they can cut the big mistakes, they will end up being better than anyone thought.
How It Will Play Out
Carolina is a 3.5-point betting favorite at home against the Jaguars, who are 3-1 SU and ATS in their four meetings with the Panthers, with the last two meetings going over the posted total. The last meeting came in 2007, when the Jaguars romped to a 37-6 home win, but the tables could turn this week.
In a game between a pair of rookie quarterbacks, take Newton to put on a better show at home against Gabbert and the Jaguars, although the running games may be the bigger story. The team that establishes that part of their offense will come away with the win, and the duo of Williams and Stewart haven’t gotten going on the ground due to Newton, so expect the Panthers to be more balanced. Look for the Panthers to cover the online betting spread this weekend.
Jaguars Panthers Betting Pick: Carolina Panthers -3.5