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Carolina Panthers
Buffalo Bills
League : NFL

Buffalo Bills vs Carolina Panthers Prediction & Preview

Buffalo Bills vs Carolina Panthers 2018-08-09 NFL,

#251 Carolina
#252 Buffalo
Thursday, August 9, 2018 at 7:00pm
Image licensed from USA Today Sports
The Buffalo Bills will host the Carolina Panthers in week one preseason action Thursday night from New Era Field. The Panthers went 2-2 in last year’s preseason, and 11-5 in the regular season. The Bills posted a 1-3 record in 2017 preseason play, and they went 9-7 in the regular season. The Panthers defeated the Bills by a 9-3 score in week two last season.

Panthers Head Into Season with Deep Receiving Core

The Carolina Panthers are primed for another highly competitive season in the challenging NFC South. Cam Newton is back after accumulating 3302 passing yards last season, and he will have a deep receiving core to work with. Devin Funchess led the Panthers with 840 receiving yards last season, and he will be joined by Torrey Smith who was acquired by the Eagles along with Pro Bowler Greg Olson at tight end. The Panthers parted ways with Jonathan Stewart, as they are very confident in second-year running back Christian McCaffery. The 22-year old running back tallied 435 rushing yards and 651 receiving yards last season. McCaffery appears to be running with more speed and power in training camp after trying to be to fancy in his rookie campaign. The Panthers defense is anchored by Luke Keuchly, however, they lost the talented safety Kurt Coleman and guard Andrew Norwell to free-agency.
The Panthers parted ways with longtime backup quarterback Derek Anderson who was regarded as one of the stronger backups in the NFL. They added Garrett Gilbert as the new backup, and he will see action in this contest. The 27-year old quarterback has yet to take a snap in an NFL regular season game. The Panthers third-string QB Taylor Heinicke will also receive some playing time in this one. Heinicke has only attempted one pass in his NFL career.
Last season the Panthers averaged 22.7 points per game, ranking them 12th in the NFL. The Panthers defense held opponents to an average of 20.4 points, placing them 20th overall.

Highly-Touted QB Josh Allen Set to Make NFL Debut

The Buffalo Bills finally reached the playoffs last season after a 17-year drought. They went 9-7 and fell to Jacksonville in the Wildcard game. The Bills made a big move by shipping Tyrod Taylor to the Browns in an offseason trade. Bills GM Brandon Beane drafted QB Josh Allen with the seventh overall pick as the Bills’ QB of the future. Buffalo will take their time with the young quarterback as they feature Nathan Peterman and A.J. McCarron who is the early favorite to start in week one. The Buffalo defense is solid, however, they were inconsistent last season. They made several offseason moves to bolster the defense, adding tackle Star Lotuleiei from Carolina and cornerback Vontae Davis from the Colts.
QB Josh Allen has made some great plays early in training camp, however, he has also made some terrible passes. It will be interesting to see how the young QB fares in his first taste of the NFL in this one. Nathan Peterman and A.J. McCarron both have NFL experience and they will see action in this as one well.
The Bills scored an average of 18.9 points per game last season, ranking them 22nd in the NFL. The Buffalo defense allowed an average of 22.4 points in 2017, placing them 18th overall.

The Bottom LineWhat to bet on this game.

Full-Game Side Bet
I am taking the Bills in this contest. The Bills have three quarterbacks all looking to make a strong impression. Josh Allen, Nathan Peterman, and A.J. McCarron will likely all see playing time and I expect all three to play with some determination considering they want to impress the coaching staff. Peterman and McCarron both have NFL experience while Carolina’s backup and third string QB’s don’t have regular season experience at the NFL level. Furthermore, I believe Buffalo has more defensive depth, and Carolina is already dealing with a few injuries on defense including Ross Cockrell and Julius Peppers.  
Prediction: Pick: Buffalo Bills -2.5
Full-Game Total Pick
I expect to see offense from both sides in this one. Both teams feature strong depth at running back with C.J. Anderson and Cameron Artis-Payne the #2 and #3 running backs for Carolina, and Buffalo has Chris Ivory as their second string running back. Buffalo has three quarterbacks all determined to make a strong impression, and they will be treating this similar to a regular season game. Also, the over is 16-5 in the Bills’ last 21 home games overall, and the over converted in three of the Panthers’ four preseason games last season.

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