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Sorensen’s picks: Yes, Panthers can win this game

I write a column about Carolina elsewhere in this section. There’s more detail about the San Francisco game in there. If you start from the back of your paper, you’ll read this column first. But most people don’t start from the back.

San Francisco is favored to beat Carolina by six. I don’t see the 49ers covering. In fact, I don’t see them winning.

I like the Panthers 30-29.

The Panthers are my Upset of the week.

Last week: 7-6

Season: 87-46

Upset: Early in the week Indianapolis was getting 2½ points on the road against Houston. So I jumped. The Colts won by 3.

Season: 5-4

Lock of the week: Picked Dallas (-10½) to cover against Minnesota. The Cowboys were fortunate to win by 4.

This week’s picks, with the home team in CAPS:

Philadelphia 32, GREEN BAY 30

Even with Seneca Wallace at quarterback the Packers will score against the weak Philadelphia defense. Rookie running back Eddie Lacy has scored four touchdowns and averages 4.4 yard a carry and without Aaron Rogers he’ll be essential. But the Eagles showed last week what they’re capable of and all season they’ve been capable on the road. They’re 0-4 at home, 4-1 away from it.

Detroit 35, CHICAGO 34

Jay Cutler will apparently start at quarterback for Chicago. But kudos to the work Josh McCown did as a replacement. McCown, a former Panther, was an assistant coach in 2011 and ’12 at Marvin Ridge high. Then he’s on Monday Night Football. With Cutler out, McCown led Chicago to two long Lambeau Field scoring drives of at least 10 plays. He’s completed 36 of 61 passes this season for 476 yards, three touchdowns and has yet to throw an interception.

Denver 36, SAN DIEGO 29

With Denver head coach John Fox recovering from surgery, his defensive coordinator, Jack Del Rio, will serve as head coach. San Diego head coach Mike McCoy was Fox’s offensive coordinator in Denver. McCoy also was quarterbacks coach at Carolina, and Del Rio was defensive coordinator for the Panthers. I’ve written this before – McCoy is going to be good. He’s smart and he’s innovative and players want to win for him. San Diego beat Dallas (Tony Romo) and Indianapolis (Andrew Luck) in San Diego. But Peyton Manning will come out firing. And Del Rio will be 1-0.

NEW ORLEANS 33, Dallas 24

It’s been a good season for most of the NFL Ryans that don’t play quarterback for Atlanta. Rex Ryan’s New York Jets are 5-4. The Saints’ defensive coordinator is Rex’s twin brother Rob. Last season the Saints had the league’s worst defense. This season they’re ninth. Rob was defensive coordinator in Dallas last season. Then, as is his custom, he was fired. The Saints are the fourth team for which he’s led the defense. But his work this season has been exemplary, and he’ll be creative against one of his former employers.

The rest:

TENNESSEE 26, Jacksonville 16

Cincinnati 26, BALTIMORE 24

INDIANAPOLIS 29, St. Louis 20

Seattle 28, ATLANTA 21

NEW YORK GIANTS 23, Oakland 16

ARIZONA 26, Houston 23

Miami 24, TAMPA BAY 21

Lock of the week: PITTSBURGH (-3) 26, Buffalo 20

The Steelers are leaking. They gave up 610 yards to Tom Brady and the fellows last week. The Bills get rookie quarterback EJ Manuel back, and Panther fans are aware what he can do. Also, Buffalo’s defense is one of the league’s best. But there are occasions on which a team remembers who it is and what it stands for, and today will be one of those for the Steelers. Also, I couldn’t find a Lock I loved.

Sorensen: 704-358-5119; Twitter: @tomsorensen
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