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Who Will Win Steelers and Panthers Duel?

November 7, 2018

The Pittsburgh Steelers have overcome their slow start to the season to take control of the AFC North, but their hopes of challenging for a post-season bye will be tested by the Carolina Panthers.

Carolina have ambitions of making a surge for the top spots in the NFC playoff race, having reeled off three wins on the bounce. The club are one game behind their bitter rivals the New Orleans Saints in the NFC South and have to keep pace with Sean Payton’s men.

The Steelers continued their resurgence with a win over the Baltimore Ravens last time out. The triumph over their rivals in the AFC North nullified the tie-breaker between the teams that was held by the Ravens after their victory at Heinz Field. Pittsburgh’s winning run of four matches has put them atop the North and on course for another appearance in the post-season.

Ron Rivera’s men have been dominant at home, but now have the challenge to carry their form on the road. Cam Newton and his offense have been in sync, scoring 40 points last week and another 30 in the contest before against the Ravens. It will take a complete effort from the Panthers to get the win on the road facing an improving outfit.

Will the Panthers create an upset?

Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers have bounced back from their rough start to the campaign. Mike Tomlin’s side have won four matches in a row to regain their command of the AFC North. The Ravens had enjoyed a strong start to the campaign, including their win over Pittsburgh.

However, Tomlin’s men have now turned the tables on their rivals and can now look at taking a strong surge towards the playoffs. Roethlisberger has been solid and was his usual self against the Ravens, throwing two touchdowns. He has connected with Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster with regularity throughout the campaign, with Brown already notching nine touchdowns on the season.

Although the three players have been crucial in the Steelers’ success, James Conner has been the key man. Alarm bells would have been ringing when Le’Veon Bell refused to turn up to training camp. Bell has still not returned to the club due to his contract dispute, which could drag on until the end of the term.

Conner has ensured that the Steelers have not missed the All-Pro. He has replaced his production on the ground and through the air, scoring 10 touchdowns and over 1,000 yards from scrimmage through nine games. The 23-year-old has rushed for over 100 yards in the Steelers’ winning run and has become the cog from which the offense runs.

Pittsburgh’s defense has been good enough over the course of the campaign. TJ Watt has notched seven sacks, providing a threat in the pass-rush. Bud Dupree and Stephon Tuitt have also come to the fore. The secondary has recovered from a poor start to season.

There are elements of concern against the elite passing teams in the NFL. This week will be a major test of their level of play and whether they are able to contend with the Kansas City Chiefs and the New England Patriots in the AFC playoff race. Newton has talent in his arm and the receiving corps to succeed, leaving Joe Haden, Sean Davis, Artie Burns and Terrell Edmunds on the spot.

Carolina Panthers

The Panthers are trending towards an outside pick for the Super Bowl. Carolina have been coming up on the quiet with all the attention on the Saints and the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Conference. Rivera’s men face the Saints in two of the final three matches of the campaign. Those could be crucial in deciding which team is on the road in a potential meeting in the post-season. Carolina have a veteran team and will not look beyond their opponents.

Their confidence will be sky high entering the contest against the Steelers on the back of three wins on the bounce. The Panthers have dropped matches only against the Atlanta Falcons and the Washington Redskins on the road. They’ve been flawless at home, but the defeats away from Bank of America Stadium could loom large. Rivera’s side have to prove a point by beating a quality outfit on the road.

Newton has been impressive this term, but especially excellent in the last three matches, playing clean football. He has thrown six touchdowns without an interception in his side’s winning run, while the 30-year-old added another score on the ground against the Ravens.

Newton’s dual-threat has not been diminished even as he plays into his eighth season. The quarterback has form a great connection with Christian McCaffrey, Devin Funchess and DJ Moore, with McCaffrey delivering on the promise that saw him selected eighth overall in the 2017 Draft. There’s more than enough talent to put Pittsburgh’s defense to the sword.

The Panthers’ defense has often been a source of their strength and it continues to be solid. They’re ranked 11th in yards allowed, while they’re in a similar position in points. Rivera would not have been pleased with their performance against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last time out.

His side conceded 28 points to Ryan Fitzpatrick and company, making the contest closer than it should have been. Mario Addison is having another strong campaign leading the pass-rush with 7.5 sacks on the year. Luke Kuechly remains a tackling machine, although the onus has been lifted from his shoulders by Shaq Thompson, who is having a fine season.

Betting Options

It’s a hard contest to call given the Steelers’ improvement and Carolina’s issues on the road. The Panthers look the more complete unit on both sides of the ball, although they are the underdogs heading into the contest. Therefore for value back the Panthers to notch the win at Heinz Field to prove their Super Bowl credentials at odds of +175  with TopBet.

Given that the Steelers are favoured Carolina have an advantage on the spread take them on +2 with 888Sport at odds of 7/5 . The over/under line has been set by BetOnline at 51.5 points, take the under at -108 .

Brown has found the endzone nine times on the term. Back him to continue his streak at odds of 7/10 with 888Sport. Funchess has scored only three times on the season – he last notched a touchdown against the Eagles – take him to end the drought at odds of 33/20 . Conner has been on form in his last four matches, rushing for over 100 yards in each outing. Take him at odds of 17/20  to surpass 83.5 rushing yards at 888Sport.

Roethlisberger will need to have a strong outing throwing downfield for the Steelers. Back him at odds of 9/10  with 888Sport to throw more touchdowns than Newton at Heinz Field.

Tips Summary

Carolina Panthers To Beat Pittsburgh Steelers
Thursday 8th November 2018 20:20 ET (Friday 9th November 2018 01:20 GMT)
Odds: +175

Carolina Panthers +2 Spread
Thursday 8th November 2018 20:20 ET (Friday 9th November 2018 01:20 GMT)
Odds: 7/5

Under 51.5 Points To Be Scored
Thursday 8th November 2018 20:20 ET (Friday 9th November 2018 01:20 GMT)
Odds: -108

Antonio Brown To Score Touchdown Anytime
Thursday 8th November 2018 20:20 ET (Friday 9th November 2018 01:20 GMT)
Odds: 7/10

Devin Funchess To Score Touchdown Anytime
Thursday 8th November 2018 20:20 ET (Friday 9th November 2018 01:20 GMT)
Odds: 33/20

James Conner To Rush For Over 83.5 Rushing Yards
Thursday 8th November 2018 20:20 ET (Friday 9th November 2018 01:20 GMT)
Odds: 17/20

Ben Roethlisberger To Throw More Touchdowns Than Cam Newton
Thursday 8th November 2018 20:20 ET (Friday 9th November 2018 01:20 GMT)
Odds: 9/10

  • Ben Roethlisberger
  • Cam Newton
  • Carolina Panthers
  • NFL
  • Pittsburgh Steelers

    About the author

    Simon Sinclair
    Simon Sinclair

    Sports Writer

    Simon is a freelance sports writer from the UK. He passionately writes about all kinds of sports, sharing his predictions on everything from the latest cricket matches and golf tournaments to major horse racing events and popular American sports.