Week 1 was a missed opportunity for both the Buffalo Bills and Carolina Panthers. On Sunday, both teams will look to make up for their blown chance as they face each other.
The Bills were just seconds away from upsetting the New England Patriots in their opener. EJ Manuel threw for two scores and no interceptions in his debut, while completing 67 percent of his passes. Buffalo didn’t let Tom Brady and the Patriots offense do much, allowing just six points in the second half. Up one point in the finals seconds, the Bills allowed a field goal that sealed their fate. Despite having a fourth-quarter lead at home, they were unable to make enough plays at the end and put more points on the board.
Like the Bills, the Panthers were at home, facing the second favorite to represent their conference in the Super Bowl. Carolina had a 7-6 advantage over the Seattle Seahawks heading into the fourth quarter. Cam Newton and the rest of the offense, though, could barely move the ball against the NFL’s best defense in 2012. They were able to muster just 259 yards of total offense and couldn’t come back from a Russell Wilson touchdown pass with just over 10 minutes to play.
Despite both teams playing close games against tough competition, the Bills have been made underdogs at home. They are getting 3.5 points, according to most Las Vegas casinos. The over/under has been set at 43.5 points.
Carolina might be ready to have a bounce-back performance. Buffalo’s secondary began the 2013 season banged up without cornerback Stephen Gilmore and safety Jairus Byrd. Against the Patriots cornerback Ron Brooks broke his foot. Newton should play much better after facing, perhaps, the best secondary in football. The Panthers had a strong rushing attack on in Week 1, averaging 5.2 yards per carry.
The game is one of nine early games in Week 2 that are scheduled to start at 1 p.m. ET. It will air on FOX, but viewers who can’t see the contest on TV can watch a live stream online by purchasing NFL Sunday Ticket Max.
Prediction: Buffalo 23, Carolina 17