The Carolina Panthers (6-3) will head to Ford Field to take on the Detroit Lions (3-6) in Week 11 (November 18, 2018 at 1:00pm EST). The Lions, losers of three straight, opened as 4.0-point home underdogs.
Cam Newton is having one of his best passing seasons to date, but Carolina’s offense is still a run-first attack. Led by Christian McCaffrey (579 yards, 4 TDs), the Panthers produce 138.4 yards per game on the ground (3rd in the league), which is the biggest reason they sit top-ten in scoring at 26.8 points per game (9th).
Newton’s arm has been a great complement, as the 2015 MVP has thrown for 2,086 yards and 17 TDs. But the Panthers will have to get back to feeding McCaffrey after he only managed 77 yards on a measly 14 carries in a horrendous 52-21 loss to Pittsburgh in Week 10. Getting McCaffrey rolling early will be pivotal this Sunday.
Carolina’s defense has not lived up to expectations. While it only cedes 99.0 yards per game on the ground (9th), it’s giving up 258.2 through the air (22nd), which has led to a concerning number of points (25.8 PPG, 23rd).
The offense Carolina will see this week isn’t terrible, but it’s not great, and appears to be getting worse. Detroit only manages to score 22.4 points per game (20th) and has only managed 15.0 PPG over its current three-game losing streak . They aren’t doing anything particularly well this year, boasting the NFL’s 23rd-ranked running game and 19th-ranked passing attack.
The absence of leading receiver Golden Tate, who was shipped to Philadelphia at the trade deadline, is really starting to show.
Matthew Stafford has thrown for 2,385 yards with a 16:8 touchdown to interception ratio (93.8 passer rating). Kenny Golladay has been his favorite receiver, hauling in 39 passes for 601 yards and four TDs. Meanwhile, it’s been Kerryon Johnson leading the way out of the backfield, totaling 554 yards on the ground (13th-most in the NFL) with two rushing TDs. Until either Stafford or Johnson steps up and becomes a real threat, this offense will never be feared.
The Lions defense has simply not been good this season. They’re giving up a shameful 27.1 points per game (28th), and the main cause is the 229.4 passing yards per game they give up (8th). And their secondary is solely responsible for this issue. Detroit’s pass-rushers have done their job pretty well, averaging 2.8 sacks per game (13th in the NFL). Cam Newton and his group of receivers have to be licking their chops for this one.
The last time these two teams played was October 8th, 2017, when Carolina surprised the Lions, 27-24. The Lions were 2.0-point favorites in that game.