Columns & Blogs

Carolina Panthers will win, despite ‘trap game’

Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen (88) reaches out for a one-handed catch against the Green Bay Packers last week. The Panthers won 37-29, and improve to 8-0.
Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen (88) reaches out for a one-handed catch against the Green Bay Packers last week. The Panthers won 37-29, and improve to 8-0. dtfoster@charlotteobserver.com

I’ve picked the Carolina Panthers every week this season because every week I figure they’ll win. I was going to pick them against Tennessee. But when I was getting on the flight to Nashville late Saturday morning I heard something that almost made me change my mind.

A guy about five feet away made it clear that he was going to the game and he had a secret. I like secrets, although how secret can a secret be if everybody in Zone C hears it?

Although the guy appeared to be wearing pajamas, he knew stuff. I could tell by the way he conspiratorially cocked his head. He summoned the passengers around him to move in closer and said, “THIS IS A TRAP GAME!”

The guy looked at the dark haired flight attendant and waited to be upgraded to first class. Flight attendants are standing by.

His contention apparently is that because the Panthers played the past four weeks against Seattle, Philadelphia, Indianapolis and Green Bay, and because in the first and fourth games the Panthers were underdogs and in the second and third they played in prime time, Carolina MIGHT LET DOWN SUNDAY AGAINST TENNESSEE!

I thought about texting Panther coach Ron Rivera. But you know what? I’ve always been able to keep a secret.

Last week: 8-5

Season: 90-42

Lock: New Orleans (-8) over Tennessee.

New Orleans failed to cover because it failed to win.

Season: 5-6

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

Carolina 24, TENNESSEE 20

A locker room that features Thomas Davis and Greg Olsen, Ryan Kalil and Jerricho Cotchery, Josh Norman and Luke Kuechly, Roman Harper and Kurt Coleman, knows the Titans’ game is loaded.

The Titans have a very good defense and a very good rookie quarterback, and you could say they have nothing to play for expect they have a lot to play for. They have an interim head coach who wants to prove in his third try that he’s capable, fans who want to believe and an offense that last week generated 483 total yards.

It is true that the Panthers are favored (-4½) and that the game is not in prime time. But Tennessee has used nine rookies this season, and each week the Titans are a little less young than they were the week before.

The Titans, however, could be without both starting corners and a top reserve.

This one ought to be close. I think Tennessee plays well. But don’t tell anybody that it’s – take a step this way, please, so the wrong people don’t hear – A TRAP GAME!

Lock of the week: GREEN BAY (-11) 37, Detroit 23

The Packers lost on the road to Denver and Carolina and they will take it out at home on lowly Detroit.

The rest:

ST. LOUIS 29, Chicago 24

TAMPA BAY 29, Dallas 28

New Orleans 33, WASHINGTON 30

PHILADELPHIA 29, Miami 23

PITTSBURGH 31, Cleveland 27

BALTIMORE 26, Jacksonville 20

OAKLAND 33, Minnesota 31

DENVER 20, Kansas City 17

New England 34, NEW YORK GIANTS 28

SEATTLE 23, Arizona 17

CINCINNATI 24, Houston 16

  Comments