Picking the Panthers to beat the Vikings left me frustrated for a bit after that game. Our entire season had been predictable/reasonable up until Week 8. To lose on the road in our first game with a limited preseason and young team, that made sense. So did beating Jacksonville and a flash in the pan Redskins team. The losses to the Packers, Bears, Saints and Falcons, all were reasonable. No surprises. I thought I had this Panthers team figured out. Surely they would beat a 1-6 Vikings team at home, right? Wrong. I was wrong, dropping to 5-3 on the year for my Panthers picks.
But then I got to thinking, it's really amazing it took until week 8 for something strange to happen, like our home loss to Minnesota. The NFL could really be called the NPL, the Not Predictable League, as it is truly a league of parity in which any given team can win on any given Sunday. And on that Sunday, we lost a game we really should have won.
And that's the exact reason I'm going to pick the Panthers to win on Sunday against the Titans. I was struggling with the reasoning, "If we can't beat the Vikes at home, then how can I pick the good guys to win games where we play opponents that have a better record?" But I'm reminded, every week is different in the NFL.
For the most part, the Titans have done what they've supposed to do this year. They've lost to good teams like the Steelers, Texans, and Bengals (wow that looks strange to say). They beat bad teams like the Browns, Colts and Broncos. But then there's that "Huh?" factor when you look at the Titans first two games: they lost to the Jaguars, and then thumped the Ravens week 2. Huh??
For the most part, the teams that have beat us this year either had a very strong running game or a star QB. The Titans have neither. They rank 31st in rushing offense. Matt Hasselbeck has played well for the most part, but he is no Rodgers, Brees, or Ryan. The Titans also allow over 126 yards per game on the ground, ranking 23rd in the league. The days of Albert Haynesworth leading a stout rushing defense are gone. Time will tell the reason why the Titans' offensive line or Chris Johnson are playing poorly this year; but I sure hope it continues for one more game.
Am I worried about this game? Yes. Am I going with my heart over my head with this pick? Absolutely. But that's not my reason for picking the Panthers to win this Sunday. I'm picking us because there's a good possibility we win by just sheer dumb luck for a change. And yes, it hurts to say that : )
Look for the Panthers to have a big day running the ball. Look for Cam to have a moderate game without the gawdy passing yard stats but managing the team well against the Titans strong secondary. And, look for some big plays from our defense and/or special teams. For once. It's possible.
I sure hope James Anderson plays by the way.
Panthers 21 Titans 20
That’s how I see it. What about you Panthers fans? How do you see this Sunday’s game? You make the call,
Let’s hear it!