If you’re still on the fence about who to back in this primetime matchup we’ve enlisted the help of expert NFL bloggers Matthew Stevens, from The Panthers Wire, and Ken Meringolo, from Hogs Haven. They strap on the pads and debate which team will not only win, but cover the spread on Monday Night Football.
WHY THE PANTHERS WILL COVER
Matthew Stevens is an editor at The Panthers Wire. You can follow them on Facebook and Twitter (@ThePanthersWire).
Redskins are hot and cold
Washington has a good team on their hands, but like most young rosters, they have difficulty staying consistent each week. That plays perfectly into the Panthers’ hands as they could give Carolina some shots at big plays in the process.
Panthers have the better team
If you look solely at their records, you’d never believe me, but Carolina has one of the most talentry rosters in the NFL. Injuries and inconsistent play from a handful of player have doomed them in 2016, but this is still very much the team that went 15-1 and dominated the playoffs en route to Super Bowl 50.
Coaches and players are fighting for jobs
With the season going like it has in 2016, the Panthers could very well shake things up this offseason. That could mean anything from demotion for some players to outright being cut.
Bonus: Shutting up Josh Norman
Many of the players and coaches undoubtedly still love Norman, but he has had difficulty keepin his mouth shut after his release from Carolina. It might have come as a surprise, but he got the money he wanted, albeit from a different team. sadly, that hasn’t stopped him from poking at Carolina’s troubles and talking about how he felt betrayed. I fully expect the Panthers will see if he really was worth all that money by throwing some unique things his way. That could come with Carolina being extra physical with him to beat him up or some misdirection to get Norman and the defense out of place for a big play. Offensive coordinator Mike Sula has his hands full this week, but we should see some new wrinkles because of it.
WHY THE REDSKINS WILL COVER
Ken Meringolo is an managing editor at Hogs Haven. You can follow Ken on Twitter (@ItsRainingKen) and Hogs Haven on Facebook and Twitter (@HogsHaven).
I always get pummeled for relying too much on heart and not enough on head. The Redskins are 11-2 against the spread this season. That’s some pretty good head.
Prime time ghosts
Coming into this season, there was a perception that the Washington Redskins performed poorly in prime time. That perception was fueled by a parade of beatings on national television. I mean, we (the Skins) might as well have been playing the Globetrotters. This current team has climbed out of that deep and poorly furnished hole with a roster that refuses to be defined by previous mediocrity. Don’t take my word for it–ask the Green Bay Packers who was the last team to beat them (in prime time)?
You always want your money to be on the right side of a fight. You can always argue that the Panthers did what they felt was in their best interest when they released Josh Norman. Plenty of sane, smart people would argue against. The beneficiary of Carolina’s thinking has been Washington’s defense. Although historically bad on third downs and soul-crushingly poor against the run, Norman has been able to assert himself in games. It has quite honestly been the difference between winning and losing. This is personal for Josh, and I know his teammates are anxious for the opportunity to help him send a message. If this game does end up being tighter, the difference could easily end up being a Josh Norman score. That’s the side of this fight I would bet on.