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On November 18, 2018, in Free Picks, NFL, by Stephen

By Stephen Nover

Panthers at Lions Under 49 1/2

Carolina’s defense is looking for redemption after getting embarrassed on national television last Thursday by the Steelers, 52-21. The Panthers defense is much better than that.

The Lions are trying to transition from being a passing team to a ground-oriented one. It hasn’t working out. Rookie Kerryon Johnson has flashed at times, but Detroit’s ground game still is below average ranking 23rd. The Panthers have the ninth-best run defense in the NFL.

Meanwhile, the Lions’ passing attack has gone downhill. Matthew Stafford is not having a good season. He has been sacked 16 times in the last two games and has committed 11 turnovers on the season. Much of Stafford’s fairly respectable-looking statistics have come during garbage time. Losing guard T.J. Lang to a neck injury was a below-the-radar, but key injury to the Lions’ offensive line.

Stafford is without his two best wide receiving targets as Golden Tate was traded a couple of weeks ago and Marvin Jones is out with a knee injury. Stafford probably is going to throw short passes and target Theo Riddick out of the backfield. The Panthers, though, have outstanding athletic coverage linebackers.

Carolina has averaged 35.5 points in its last four home games. But on the road, the Panthers are averaging 20.7 points. Detroit’s secondary should play better. Darius Slay, the Lions’ top defensive back, is back from injury and the Panthers have mediocre wide receivers.

(Editor’s note: Stephen Nover is having another huge football season going a combined 89-56-3 on his NFL and college football premium and free plays since September. If you are interested in Stephen’s sports service please email or message him.)


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