Spread: Steelers by 5.5
Money line: Panthers +201; Steelers -225
The Pittsburgh Steelers had hoped superstar running back Le’Veon Bell would be with the team by now. But it appears that they may have another star in the making in Bell’s potential replacement, James Conner. While it hasn’t always been pretty, they are in control of the AFC North after beating the Ravens last week.
But the Carolina Panthers can’t say the same despite winning their sixth game of the season last week. If they are going to get a chance to catch the New Orleans Saints, though, they can’t afford to lose. However, the will be hard-pressed to get a win over the Steelers Thursday night.
For the most part, the Panthers lean on their defense and Cam Newton to win games. He has become a better passer this season (67.3 percent; new career high). But the team does not make consistent use of its other weapons.
Christian McCaffrey is averaging over 100 total yards a game, but his run production has varied from 20-184 yards and his carries as few as seven with a high of 28.
Newton has led the team in rushing in five of eight games.
The disrespect from Cam Newton pic.twitter.com/jOVu3c6VDo— Vikings Blogger (@firstandskol) November 4, 2018
So—who’s going to win?
Carolina’s stout run defense will likely bring James Conner back down to Earth a little. But Ben Roethlisberger will make up for the missing production in the passing game. The Panthers will try to control the clock with the run game. But after Newton gets rocked a couple times by the Steelers run defense, they’ll quit doing so.
It’s not the Steel Curtain but the Steelers defense can handle Cam Newton. Take the Steelers to win over the Panthers and cover the spread. As for the over/under—take the over.