Nov 5, 2018
Nov 5, 2018

NFL Week 10 preview: Carolina Panthers at Pittsburgh Steelers

A potential Super Bowl encounter?

Analysing the Carolina Panthers

Key Steelers statistics

NFL Week 10 preview: Carolina Panthers at Pittsburgh Steelers

The Carolina Panthers travel to Pittsburgh to take on the Steelers in the pick of this week’s NFL fixtures. Looking for value in the NFL Week 10 odds? Read on to inform your NFL Week 10 predictions.

A potential Super Bowl encounter?

Following quickly on from Sunday’s potential NFC Championship game, when New Orleans defeated LA Rams in an 80-point riot of scoring, Thursday night offers up a potential Super Bowl matchup which sees the NFC’s 6-2 Carolina Panthers travel to take on the AFC’s 5-2-1 Pittsburgh Steelers.

Both teams currently sit in a post season position.

Hosts, Pittsburgh are currently seeded third in the AFC, pursued by their divisional rivals, the Cincinnati Bengals and to a lesser extent, the Baltimore Ravens.

Whilst Carolina are the current NFC’s fifth and wildcard seed, a win behind the NFC South leaders, the New Orleans Saints.

So, there’s little room for complacency as the 2018 season enters the final two months of the regular campaign.

Analysing the Carolina Panthers

Carolina has put the ball in the hands of Cam Newton since 2011, but despite considerable success for the franchise, both in terms of divisional titles and post season progression, doubts remain about the Panthers’ passer.

Newton and the team peaked in 2015, running up a near perfect 15-1 season, before tasting Super Bowl 50 defeat to Denver.

That was the culmination of a trio of first place finishes in the ultra- competitive NFC South, but 2014’s title was won with a losing record and immediately following their Super Bowl defeat, the Panthers faded to a 6-10, 4th place finish.

They returned to the post season last term, but again a 7-1 record in games decided by a touchdown or fewer points, masked a 9-7 team that had been fortunate in these tight contests.

Throughout, Newton has largely failed to feature amongst the elite quarterbacks for the season.

uring his most impressive year, the run to the Super Bowl in 2015, he barely sneaked into the top ten and is mostly to be found just around the midpoint for quarterback talent in any year.

Since quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, entered the league in 2004 and promptly won the offensive rookie of the year award, the Steelers have yet to post a losing season

2015 may have been Newton’s atypical season and once again in 2018 his passing marks him down as a slightly below average thrower.

He does appear to have partly addressed accuracy issues, that have plagued him even in his better years, but he is passing for two tenths of a yard less than the average yards per attempt allowed by the defences he has faced.

The Panthers are excellent offensively, on the ground, they gain nearly a yard per carry further that their opponents are conceding in 2018.

Coupled with Newton’s improved accuracy, leading to a healthy turnover differential, they are outscoring their opponents average rate of concession by just over three points per game.

Carolina is good, but not great on defence. They rate slightly above average against the pass, slightly below par when faced with the run and overall they have restricted their opponent to an average of one point per game fewer than their typical scoring rate.

They are performing like a ten-win team, with solid playoff credentials, but no better than a handful of post season bound teams at this time of the year.

Key Steelers Statistics

The Pittsburgh Steelers epitomizes consistency and excellence that is only bettered by the New England Patriots.

Since quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, entered the league in 2004 and promptly won the offensive rookie of the year award, the Steelers have yet to post a losing season.

They aren’t quite the dominant force they were in Roethlisberger’s peak, they have lost slightly more post season matches than they have won over the last decade, but they remain the side to beat in the AFC North.

A 13-3 regular season in 2017 was perhaps inflated by a similarly strong record in narrowly decided matches and 10 or 11 wins was perhaps a better reflection of a Steelers team that fell at the first playoff hurdle.

The 2018 version, again with Roethlisberger at the helm, despite the annual hints at retirement from the 36-year-old, has solid efficiency figures on both sides of the ball.

They pass for three tenths of a yard per play further than the par numbers allowed by the defences they have faced, but hand a similar amount back to their opponent when they run the football.

This translates into an average scoring rate of 2.5 points per game in advance of par, once the quality of the defences is accounted for.

Pittsburgh is above average both on the ground and through the air, defensively, restricting the scoring rate they allow by nearly a field goal per game.

The best matchup for Carolina is their top-rated running game against Pittsburgh’s slightly above par rushing defence and Pittsburgh is marginally favoured to fare best through the air.

Both sides have participated in a match with at least 70 total points in 2018, but this looks like a game that won’t be heavily dominated by the offences and Pittsburgh are taken to win by four points with the total landing at around 48.

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