Carolina's opening day blowout loss to Philly is still affecting how the Panthers are perceived, as there is not logical explanation why a team that was 12-4 last season and is basically the same team would be an underdog of more than a touchdown against a team that didn't make the playoffs last season and is 1-1 this year.
I will admit the Dallas is a good team, but so is Carolina despite their 0-2 record. I said last week the Panthers' quarterback Jake Delhomme would bounce back from his horrible 4 turnover performance against the Eagles and he did just that, throwing for 308 yards at 7.1 yards per pass play.
Carolina also ran the ball well (144 yards at 5.8 ypr) and they out-gained the Falcons 6.6 yards per play to 5.8 yppl. Delhomme has averaged 6.6 yppp over his career and the Panthers still have a good rushing attack with DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart both very good backs.
The Panthers' above average attack should perform well against a Cowboys' defense that allowed 6.2 yppl to Tampa Bay in week 1 and 6.7 yppl to the Giants last Sunday night. Dallas is not as likely to be nearly that bad going forward but I'm comfortable stating that the Cowboys have a below average defense.
The Cowboys' offense is well above average and ranks with the Saints as the best unit in the league. This season Dallas has averaged 7.0 ypr and 8.3 yppp for a total of 7.6 yppl. It is going to be tough for Dallas to maintain that pace and lost in the flurry of turnovers in their week 1 loss was a very good defensive effort by the Panthers, who held a Donovan McNabb led Eagles attack to just 4.3 yppl.
My ratings favor Dallas by just 6 points in this game and I'll lean with the underrated Panthers plus the point.
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