Scott Shapiro's Week 10 Thursday Night Analysis- Panthers vs Steelers
Week 9 saw one of the best Sunday’s this decade for the public. Unfortunately for me it took a Monday night cover by Tennessee for me to avoid my first 0 and 4 weekend of the NFL season.
After lackluster games on Thursday night over the past several weeks, pigskin fans get a good one between and to kickoff Week 10 in the National Football League.
The Panthers have slid under the radar over the first half of the season with the Rams and Saints getting most of the love, but Ron Rivera’s squad heads into Heinz Field on a three-game win streak and a record of 6 and 2. Much of that is due to strong play from veteran quarterback Cam Newton and second-year running back Christian McCaffrey who is averaging 4.6 yards a carry on the ground and has notched 49 receptions through the first eight weeks.
Despite their success through early November, I am still not a believer in Carolina. Their defense has not played as well as they have in past years and most of their wins have come against teams that are far less talented than the one they encounter on Thursday night. I respect them as a wild card team and one that has a chance to win a game in the playoffs, but not much more.
The Steelers got off to a bumpy start this season, but have really turned things around of late. Much of that has to do with a defense that was awful early, but has really picked it up over the past several weeks. Couple the improving D with an offense loaded with weapons and you have a team that should win the AFC North and give teams like the Chiefs, Patriots, and Chargers all they can handle in January.
If this game was in Charlotte, I would be concerned with how quarterback Ben Roethlisberger would play, but his home/road splits have me confident that the Steelers will move the ball at will versus a Carolina defense that has underwhelmed when they have competed against some of the better offenses in the league. James Conner, Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster are likely to be too much for the Panthers defense to handle on short rest on Thursday night.
For those of you that have read my work regularly you will not I am not a big trends guy, but Carolina is 3-8 ATS in their last 11 games coming off of two straight wins and they are 0-6 ATS versus the Steelers dating back to 1992.
The NFC South has struggled to play quality defense as a whole against good offenses this year and Pittsburgh has taken advantage of Carolina’s division rivals thus far posting 41 on the Falcons and 30 on Tampa Bay. I expect them to score at least 30 on the Panthers and cover the 3.5.
Pick: Pittsburgh Steelers (-3.5) – 1 unit
Scott Shapiro’s 2018 NFL Record 23-18-3 (+2 units)