Online sports betting sites are saying this one is going to come down to the wire, as the Washington Redskins opened as slight 1-point favorites over the Carolina Panthers in their Week 6 matchup at FedEx Field. Kickoff is set for 1:00pm EST on October 14th.
Carolina’s offense goes as far as their running game will take them. They average 26 points per game (12th), chiefly due to their first-ranked rushing attack. The Panthers churn out 154 yards per game on the ground, led by Christian McCaffrey.
Cam Newton has been mediocre for Carolina, throwing for 883 yards and 10 touchdowns, but the offense is most dangerous when McCaffrey has the rock. The RB has rushed for 329 yards (13th) this season, adding another 192 receiving.
But the Panthers will have to find new ways to get McCaffrey the ball in space, after he left their last game with just 58 yards on the ground on 17 carries. Getting McCaffrey rolling early will be crucial in Week 6.
Carolina’s defense is built to stop the run. They only cede 95 rushing yards per game (9th), compared to 280.5 through the air (26th). The Panthers’ stinginess against the run has resulted in them allowing only 22.8 points per game (13th).
Fortunately, Carolina’s defense avoids any sort of offensive powerhouse this week, when they take the field against the Redskins. Washington is scoring just 20.8 points per game (24th).
Finding the end zone in today’s NFL is extremely hard when you can’t move the ball through the air. This is what Washington is facing, as their disgraceful aerial attack has resulted in defenses selling out to slow Adrian Peterson, inviting Alex Smith to beat them with his arm.
Smith has been able to efficiently complete passes this season, completing 65.9% of them, but has not been able to push the ball downfield consistently. And until he demonstrates he can, the Redskins can expect to continue seeing extra defenders at the line of scrimmage.
The pivot has thrown for just 1,042 yards with 4 TDs and 2 INTs. Facing a Panthers defense this week that ranks 26th against the pass provides a great opportunity for Smith to get himself sorted out. The Redskins have to find some creative ways to start connecting on some big plays through the air.
Flipping to the other side of the ball, Washington’s defense has been stingy outside of Drew Brees’ party last Monday night. They’re permitting just 21.8 PPG, ranking 10th in the league. This is what happens when your defense has no major weaknesses. The Redskins only allow 227.8 passing yards per game (7th) and 92.5 rushing (6th). Nothing will come easy for Cam Newton and the Panthers offense this week.
The last meeting between these two came on December 19th, 2016, when Carolina upset the Redskins 26-15. The Redskins were also 7-point favorites in that game.