On Sunday, the Carolina Panthers (5-3) will travel to face the Green Bay Packers (7-2) in a critical game for Carolina’s postseason hopes.
When the Panthers square off with the Packers on Sunday afternoon, there will be a lot on the line for Carolina. Currently, the Panthers sit a half-game back of the final Wild Card spot and two games back of the division-leading New Orleans Saints. Sunday’s game isn’t quite a must-win situation for the Panthers, however, it is nonetheless a huge game to stay in contention. With that being said, here are game predictions from three members of our members here at Old North Banter.
Christian Candeloro (@christiancande3): Packers 31, Panthers 25
This was a tough one for me. On one hand, the Packers defense is vulnerable to a strong running game, which the Panthers clearly have behind Christian McCaffrey. On the other, the Packers defense is extremely opportunistic and could make life miserable for Kyle Allen and co. I have trouble picking against Aaron Rodgers, especially after last week’s debacle in Los Angeles. I think the Panthers defense and McCaffrey keep it close, but in the end, Rodgers leads a late-game drive to win it.
Zack Smith (@zacksmithecu): Packers 23, Panthers 20
This is a huge game for both teams, as it could have playoff implications in a late-season wild-card race. The Panthers are coming off a pretty solid effort at home against the Titans, where the defense dominated the struggling Tennessee offense. The Packers are coming off an embarrassing loss to the Chargers. Following the loss, I really don’t think Aaron Rodgers will take two straight losses for the Packers, especially at home. Kyle Allen is going to come out slow in the freezing cold, but heat up in the second half. The game will come down to the last possession and the Packers will pull out a 23-20 victory.
Luke Tucker (@luketucker19_): Panthers 26, Packers 24
As the Panthers enter the second half of the year, the schedule is going to get much tougher for Ron Rivera’s bunch. Five of the remaining nine games are against teams with a record of 5-3 or better. With that being said, this is a big game for the Panthers. Fortunately for the Panthers, it’s a matchup that bodes well for Carolina’s strengths. Green Bay is one of the worst teams at defending the run, while Carolina is one of the best. The Packers haven’t consistently been able to rush the passer, which is a good sign for a shaky Panthers offensive line. And perhaps most importantly, the Panthers defense is one of the best in the league at defending the pass. Lambeau Field is always a tough place to play, however, these two teams almost always put on a show when matched up. In a close one, look for Joey Slye, with ice in his veins (pun intended), to nail the game-winner.