Packers vs. Panthers: Looking at the Spread and the Over/Under

Chad HornerContributor IIISeptember 17, 2011

GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 08: Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers looks to pass as James Starks #44 blocks Jonathan Vilma #51 of the New Orleans Saints during the NFL opening season game at Lambeau Field on September 8, 2011 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the Saints 42-34. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Last week I went with the Pack (-4) over the Saints, as well as the over on 47.5 points.  Both proved correct, as Green Bay beat New Orleans in a shootout, 42-34.  

This week they'll face the Panthers, who got a record-setting performance from rookie quarterback Cam Newton, but still fell to the Cardinals, 28-21.  

Despite the obvious optimism that comes along with a performance like Newton's, Panthers fans must be tempering expectations at this point, as Carolina has lost All-Pro linebacker Jon Beason for the season.  

Beason is the best player on their defense, and losing him will be a big hit.  They didn't play that well on D against the Cardinals anyway, and the Packers will provide a much larger challenge.

The spread has been set at 10 points in favor of the Pack.  In my opinion, the smart money will be on Green Bay in this one. Ten points means that the Packers will have to defeat the Panthers by two scores.  I don't see how that won't happen.  They beat the Saints by eight points last week, and there is a large gap between the Saints and the Panthers.  

While Green Bay's defense didn't play great against New Orleans, I still expect them to bounce back this week.  Newton will not show nearly as much poise as Drew Brees did.  

On offense the Pack should just keep on rolling; of their 10 wins last year, half of them were by over 10 points. Green Bay blows teams out.  

The pick: Green Bay (-10)

The over/under at this game has been set at 46.5, and while I do expect a blowout from Green Bay, I don't expect many points scored from Carolina.  The Cardinals defense is nowhere near as good as the Packers', and as I just said, I expect Cam Newton to struggle this week.

The Panthers were held to two scores or less in over half of their games last year.  If Newton doesn't play well, this team won't score any points.  So even if Green Bay puts up 31 or 35 before turning off the jets, I still expect this one to go under.

The pick: Under 46.5 points.

What do you think?  Expect a blowout from the Packers or is Newton really already as good as he showed last week?