Carolina Panthers at Minnesota Vikings Spread Pick
Opening Line: Minnesota -2.5
Carolina was beaten down in a 22-6 loss to Arizona last week. Minnesota is coming off their bye and won their first game of the season the week before.
Panthers QB Cam Newton was sacked seven times last week and put four balls on the ground. The Vikings have a decent pass rush and should be able to bring heat off the edge. TE Greg Olsen is the only player with more than 18 catches but he has been hobbled in practice this week. WRs Steve Smith and Ted Ginn Jr. have made some plays this year and do face a defense that allows 326 passing yards per game. However, the offense has been very inconsistent, scoring 6, 7, 23 and 38 points in 2013. Newton has to come up big but just hasn't shown that he can do it consistently. If Minnesota's front four gets to him early, watch out. RB DeAngelo Williams is the clear cut No.1 back and has had his moments but he has yet to find the end zone. The Vikes allow an average of 105 yards per game on the ground.
All the news in the Twin Cities this week was about the signing of QB Josh Freeman. He won't play in this game though. QB Matt Cassel was much more productive in his one start than QB Christian Ponder was in his three and should get the nod this week. Carolina has a good front seven so look for the Vikings to duplicate the quick-passing attack that worked so well against Pittsburgh. WR Jerome Simpson leads the team with 19 catches and 342 yards but look for WR Greg Jennings to get some looks in this matchup. TE Kyle Rudolph is off to a slow start and needs to produce in this game. Of course, the focal point of the offense will be RB Adrian Peterson. He has faced some tough sledding this season and faces a defense yielding only 3.6 ypc. However, Peterson is that special back who can be stopped on 10 carries before busting a long one on the 11th. Look for Off. Co. Bill Musgrave to mix up his playcalling in an effort to keep the Panthers from crowding the box.
ATS Game Pick
Both of these teams are 1-3 but we like the home side here. They are rested, playing at home and a better overall club. Newton has had his problems and reports surfaced that the Panthers are already looking for HC Ron Rivera's replacement. That's a distraction this team doesn't need. With the spread probably a non issue we'll back Peterson and the Vikings to get their second-straight W.
Crew's Pick: Take the Minnesota Vikings -2.5 -115 at GtBets and get yourself a 100% bonus on your first deposit!