The second week of the preseason features a matchup between the New England Patriots and Carolina Panthers that will take place on Friday at Bank of America Stadium.
Carolina looked impressive last week, having just defeated Washington by a score of 23–21. On Thursday, New England fell to the New York Giants 23–21 and will look to grab their first win.
In Week Nine of the regular NFL season in 2021, New England defeated Carolina 24-6 in Charlotte. Despite being on the road, the Panthers come into this game as a slim favorite on the moneyline (-120) and are -1 point spread favorites (-110). Additionally, this game will feature one of the highest point totals of the whole week and with the total at 41 points.
QB Battle in Carolina
Matt Rhule, the Panthers’ head coach, is looking to turn things around for this franchise after recording a 10-23 record in his first two seasons at the helm. That being said, in their first game, Carolina looked impressive as Sam Darnold and Baker Mayfield are engaged in an intriguing quarterback duel for the Panthers.
Mayfield started the first game against Washington and threw for 45 passing yards, guiding Carolina to a field goal on the first drive. Sam Darnold then came in and connected with Rashard Higgins for an eight-yard touchdown. Spencer Brown, an undrafted rookie, was a stand-out, leading the Panthers’ ground game with 36 yards and a touchdown.
Carolina’s defense held strong for most of the game, conceding just six points in the first three quarters before giving up 15 points in the fourth. Despite this, it’s still a very good sign as the young defense forced three punts and two turnovers.
The Patriots’ first NFL preseason game against the Giants was played without many of the team’s starters on the field, but Bill Belichick’s team came within a few seconds of victory and made a strong first impression. On Friday, Mac Jones will undoubtedly take part in certain plays, providing the Patriots a huge advantage in the early going.
It would be interesting to see how New England’s attack performs against a strong defense like the Panthers, as the offense is still searching for an offensive identity now that Josh McDaniels is gone.
Belichick has demonstrated recently that he dislikes losing many preseason games, so I would anticipate that he will start more players in this one, particularly on defense. The depth at quarterback and on defense for New England also seems to provide them an advantage at the back end of the roster.
Free Betting Pick
The Panthers have a chance to pull off a surprise in the second week of the NFL preseason because the Patriots’ uncertainty over Mac Jones’ presence at quarterback forces them to use both quarterbacks battling for the starting job.
Although they will have to travel to Gillette Stadium, Carolina’s defense looked excellent against the Commanders up until the fourth quarter. Bill Bellichick appears content with his team and isn’t taking too many risks with his best players to open the regular season.
With the quarterback battle going on in Carolina, I think they continue to press on the gas and try to make the most of their offensive reps. The Patriots are tough, but I think their defense comes to play, and the offense puts enough on the board to take this game on the road.
Betting Pick: Carolina Panthers ML (-120)
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