Line: Panthers -7.5

The 3-4 Indianapolis Colts travel to North Carolina to take on the 6-0 Panthers in this week’s Monday night matchup. Carolina is coming off an impressive 27-16 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles, while the Colts suffered a disappointing 27-21 loss to the New Orleans Saints. The Panthers were up 14-6 at halftime and the game was never in doubt. The Colts were down 20-0 at halftime and although they made a valiant comeback in the second half, they fell just short.

They Colts could have played better on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. Offensively, they were shut out in the first half which included 3 turnovers. Andrew Luck threw 2 interceptions with one of them coming in the Colts end zone. The second half was much better as Luck threw 3 touchdowns with 0 interceptions. His favorite target was T.Y. Hilton who had 4 receptions for 150 yards and 2 touchdowns. The rushing game was held in check as they only ran the ball 13 times for 75 yards. Defensively, they couldn’t stop the pass or the run. Drew Brees completed 28 passes to 9 different receivers for 259 yards and a touchdown. New Orleans also had 183 rushing yards with Mark Ingram gaining 143 yards on 14 carries and a touchdown. On a positive note, they were able to sack Brees twice and had 6 tackles for losses.

The Panthers remained unbeaten in a game where Cam Newton really struggled. He was 14 for 24 for 197 yards and a touchdown, while also throwing 3 interceptions and finishing with a quarterback rating of 27.8. They were very successful running the ball as they rushed for 204 yards on 33 carries. They were lead by Jonathan Stewart who had 24 carries for 125 yards. Defensively, they had 5 sacks and 8 tackles for a loss. Kawaan Short had a monster game, as he was responsible for 3 of those sacks and 4 of those tackles for losses. They forced 2 turnovers and were able to shut the eagles out in both the first and third quarters. If there was a negative for the defense they allowed 177 rushing yards including a 63-yard touchdown run by Ryan Matthews. Overall, the Panthers have the third ranked pass defense in the NFL and lead the league in rushing yards per game with 144.

The Colts have lost 2 in a row and Andrew Luck has thrown multiple interceptions in 6 of his last 7 games. Indianapolis’s offensive line has given up 15 sacks this year and Carolina’s defense is ranked 8th in the league in sacks. This is a home game for Carolina and they are 5-1 against the spread this year. The Colts are 2-5 against the spread including 1-2 on the road. The Panthers are favored by more than a touchdown, but they are playing good football on both sides while the Colts have been struggling on both sides.

Pick: Panthers -7.5

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