The Carolina Panthers (6-0) put their undefeated record on the line when they host the Indianapolis Colts (3-4) at Bank of America Stadium on Monday. The Colts, who somehow are leading the AFC South despite a losing record, enter the matchup as underdogs by about a touchdown.
The Panthers opened the week favored by 5.5 points with the line eventually moving even further in Carolina’s favor. They are currently 6.5 favorites, according to Sportsbook.ag.
The Panthers boast the league’s leading rushing attack (144.7 yards per game) and have gained at least a hundred yards on the ground in 17 straight games. Jonathan Stewart leads the team with 423 yards but quarterback Cam Newton’s contributions have made the run game dynamic. Despite a career-low in completion percentage (55.8) and seven interceptions, Newton has contributed 245 yards on the ground and leads the team with four rushing touchdowns.
That could bode well against a Colts defense that’s No. 23 against the run (122.7 yards per game). Indianapolis is No. 20 in points allowed (24.9) and has given up 61 in their last two games, both losses.
After winning two with Matt Hasselbeck at quarterback, the Colts have lost the last two with a struggling Andrew Luck back under center. Fractured ribs and a balky shoulder may be contributing to accuracy issues. Luck has completed just 56.2 percent of his passes and thrown nine interceptions in five games, including two last week in a 27-21 loss to the Saints. Indianapolis was down 27-0 before some late scores.
It doesn’t get easier for the Indianapolis offense as they face a Panthers defense that’s tied 5th in the league in points allowed (18.3). Carolina has nine sacks the last two games and ranks top-five in interceptions (9). The Panthers do allow over a hundred yards on the ground, which could mean more carries for Frank Gore. The veteran is averaging 4.6 yards per carry, but hasn’t been a factor the last two weeks (22 carries total).
Start Time: 8:30 p.m.
Live Stream: Watch ESPN
Prediction: The Colts offense has been inconsistent this season, and it's hard to tell which team is going to show up. The Panthers run the ball too well and should have an easy time against the Colts' defense. Meanwhile, Newton is due for a big game, and he could feast in a home game against an uninspired Colts defense.
Predicted Score: Carolina over Indianapolis, 27-17.