The 6-2 Carolina Panthers will travel to Pittsburgh to take on 5-2-1 Steelers in this week’s Monday night matchup. Both teams extended their winning streaks with important victories last week. Carolina won it’s 3rd in a row with a 42-28 home victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Their offense has been particularly good during their streak, as they have scored 99 points in their last 9 quarters of football. The Panthers currently sit in second place in the NFC South behind the New Orleans Saints. Pittsburgh won for the fourth time in a row as they defeated the Baltimore Ravens 23-16 on the road. With just 1 win in the seasons first 4 games, the Steelers now find themselves alone atop the AFC North standings.
Cam Newton finished with a passer rating of 133.3 against the Buccaneers and has now gone 3 games without an interception. He completed 19 of 25 passes for 247 yards and 2 touchdowns. He also ran for 33 yards while only being sacked twice. Christian McCafrey led the team in both rushing and receiving yards. He carried the ball 17 times for 70 yards and 2 touchdowns. He also caught 5 passes for 78 yards. Greg Olsen also had a nice game with 76 yards and a touchdown on 6 receptions. For the year, the Panthers offense has averaged 27.5 points and 382 yards per game. Defensively, They intercepted Ryan Fitzpatrick twice and sacked him 3 times. They did a nice job against the rush allowing the Buccaneers to gain 82 yards on 21 carries, which is an average of 3.9 yards per run.
Ben Roethlisberger accounted for all 3 of the Steelers touchdowns against the Ravens. He completed 28 of 47 passes for 270 yards, 2 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. He also had a 1-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, which extended their lead to 14. His favorite target was Ju Ju Smith-Schuster who had 7 catches for 78 yards. James Conner had a nice day running the ball with 107 yards on 24 carries. Defensively, they did not cause any turnovers and sacked Joe Flacco twice. They allowed 289 yards offense from the Ravens including just 61 rushing yards on 16 carries. On the season, the Steelers defense has allowed their opponents to average 22.5 points and 360.5 yards per game.
The Steelers will have home field advantage for this game and will be 4-point favorites despite having the worse record. They have gone 5-3 against the spread including 2-2 at home. The Panthers have also gone 5-3 against the spread including 1-2 on the road. They have played much better at home this season, as they are 5-0 with both losses coming on the road. The Steelers haven’t really missed Le’Veon Bell who has not reported all year as Conner is coming off his 4th 100-yard rushing game in a row. One of these teams will have their winning streak come to an end.
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