The Carolina Panthers travel to Green Bay, Wisconsin to take on the Packers in Week 10 of the NFL. Looking for value in the NFL Week 10 odds? Read on to inform your NFL Week 10 predictions.
Analysing the Carolina Panthers
The 2019 NFL season may be remembered as the year of the injured quarterback. We’re just past half way in the regular season and already 13 franchises have lost at least one passer from their roster through injury.
We can add Carolina to that lengthening list as they’ve had to cope without the services of Cam Newton since week three, and a persistent foot injury that refuses to heal could see injured reserve beckoning for the nine-year veteran.
Newton’s injury concerns began in the tail end of 2018, but it may have served to mask a steady decline, as he’s rarely been inside the top 20 of NFL quarterbacks since 2015, so a changing of the guard under centre may well be beneficial for Carolina in the longer term.
Kyle Allen has taken over the passing role since week three, an undrafted free agent from 2018, who had been bouncing around various practice squads, until being re-signed by Carolina as cover for Newton’s 2018 injury.
Carolina has a 5-1 record in 2019 games where Allen has played, and their first two games with Newton under centre were both losses. Only the 49ers, the NFL’s only remaining unbeaten side have defeated an Allen-led side, albeit in comprehensive fashion, 51-13.
It’s tempting to ascribe Carolina’s overall 5-3 record to a seamless, or even improved transition at quarterback. However, Allen’s raw passing stats are eclipsed by Newton’s recent efforts in 2018.
His completion rate and yards per attempt are below Newton’s, and overall Carolina’s passing efficiency is well below league average.
The Panthers are gaining almost a yard per attempt below an opponent-adjusted league average in 2019, placing them in the bottom third of offensive passing sides, a position they’ve largely occupied since Newton’s peak 2015 campaign.
It is on the ground that Carolina is basing their offense during a difficult time in the passing game.
Aside from an early blip in 2008 and an injury-curtailed campaign in 2017, Aaron Rodgers and post-season participation have gone hand in hand.
Christian McCaffery is leading many of the league’s statistical rushing indicators, while he also dominates the Panthers’ offensive output. Carolina is rushing for over a yard more per carry than their opponent-adjusted average, much of which is down to McCaffery’s 20 plus carries per game and regular 100 plus yards rushing per game.
Defensively, the Panthers are a reverse image of their offense, as they are as good defending against the pass as their own pass offense is bad at gaining efficient yardage, and struggle at a near league low when containing the opponent’s running game.
The opposition average seven tenths of a yard per carry more against the Panthers than they usually gain on average.
Their overall 5-3 record slightly flatters the Panthers, as they have only scored 5 more points than they’ve conceded. The Green Bay match begins their second half of the year, where they’ll face five currently winning teams and a divisional double header in both Atlanta and New Orleans.
The linchpin of the Packers
Green Bay missed an opportunity to consolidate their claim for a wildcard bye week, falling to the then 3-5 LA Chargers in an out of conference contest.
They’ve swept aside each of their division rivals in the first half of the season, and looked likely to also complete a clean sweep of the AFC West against the four point home dogs in LA.
As ever, Aaron Rodgers is the linchpin of the Packers. Aside from an early blip in 2008 and an injury-curtailed campaign in 2017, Rodgers and post-season participation have gone hand in hand.
The sole exception was last season, when the Packers slipped to a losing season, despite Rodgers’ steady presence, and there was an argument that age may be creeping up on the future Hall of Famer.
Those doubts have been quietly shelved in 2019. Rodgers is back amongst the top five quarterbacks, having languished just outside the top ten in 2018, and he’s throwing for an opponent-adjusted half a yard per attempt further than average.
A solid ground game helps to keep the Pack on the move, and they have scored four more points per game than their average, opponent adjusted expectation.
On the surface, Green Bay also has an above-average defense. They’ve allowed 21 points per game against a group of teams who are scoring an average of over 23 points.
However, their best defensive displays came in the early weeks of the season and they are now regularly having to overcome points totals in the mid-20s.
More worryingly, their underlying defensive metrics are far from impressive. They are barely average against the pass and almost as inefficient as Carolina against the run, allowing nearly half a yard per carry further than their opponents gain as a group.
Carolina Panthers vs. Green Bay Packers: Where is the value?
Overall, the two main matchups have Green Bay’s offensive passing strength matched against the Panthers’ impressive pass defense, and Carolina’s awesome running game pitted against the weak Packers ground defense.
Scoring rates give Green Bay an average winning margin of around five points, but with the possible scenario whereby Carolina’s pass defense frustrates Rodgers, and the Panthers’ own ground game controls the football, there is a likelihood that the visitors could remain very competitive against the spread.
Around 49 points are expected and with both the spread and the total close to the likely quoted numbers, there’s a very slight lean towards the Panthers.