Colts Panthers Monday Night Preview
WILL INDIANAPOLIS EVER GET IT TOGETHER? HUGE TEST MONDAY NIGHT AT UNDEFEATED CAROLINA
It's very hard to take the Indianapolis Colts seriously as a threat in the AFC. They've looked awful all season. There's turmoil behind the scenes. The offensive line can't block anybody...and quarterback Andrew Luck has a tendency to force things badly when pressured. He's constantly under pressure.
In any other division...that would have spelled doom. In the godawful AFC South, the Colts are still a first place team with a 3-4 record! They wouldn't fall out if first place even if they lose this game and dip to 3-5.
And, that's why the Colts still have a chance to matter...
*They can easily win their division, which puts them in the playoffs
*They have half a season to get everyone back on the same page
*Luck can be terrific he doesn't have to try and perform miracles every play
Obviously the market expectations for Indy as the #2 team in the AFC were way off the mark. But, there is talent and a manageable schedule ahead...particularly if 7-9 might still win the division. Good luck here because the Colts catch Carolina in a massive flat spot off a big prime time TV win last week over Philadelphia. And, that was recently on the heels of a big road win at Seattle. How will Carolina get up for this one after watching all the lame game film of the Colts?
Let's see what JIM HURLEY'S key indicator stats have to say about upset potential for the Colts...or possibly NFC championship potential for the undefeated Panthers...
Won-Lost Records (Strength of Schedule)
Indianapolis: 3-4 (#25 schedule according to Sagarin)
Carolina: 6-0 (#29 schedule according to Sagarin)
Well, Carolina may just be a pretender with that schedule. We talked about this last night with Green Bay. Both the Packers and Panthers have wins over Seattle while otherwise playing fairly soft schedules. What's bad for the Colts is that they've looked pretty pathetic even against a week schedule. They might be a 1-6 team against a league average slate. Clear edge to Carolina which we already knew. There's only upset potential if the Panthers are flat while the Colts finally get their shoestrings tied and start playing.
Indianapolis: 5.4 on offense, 5.9 on defense
Carolina: 5.3 on offense, 4.8 on defense
Let's remember schedule strength here. Indianapolis is -0.5 with an unimpressive offense while playing a weak schedule. Yes, Luck missed some time. It's not like he's sparkling when on the field. Carolina's defense is stellar (similar to Denver but with fewer high impact plays). The offense is getting the job done with "game management" in a way that limits their margin for error vs. inferior opponents. When a mediocre offense plays flat...then any opponent can hang with them for 60 minutes.
Here's what we mean about Luck becoming turnover prone when pressured. He tries to force things that aren't there...and it kills them in this category because Indy's defense is so passive themselves. Good clean football this year from Cam Newton and the hosts.
Indianapolis: 2-5 ATS
Carolina: 5-1 ATS
What'd you'd expect if you were paying attention. Indianapolis has been a disaster considering they were supposed to be a #2 seed. Carolina has been MONEY because the market fell out of love with Cam Newton awhile back and hasn't gotten over it yet.
Current Line: Carolina by 7, total of 46
Tricky call for handicappers. Based on the numbers we've seen so far, Carolina should probably be about -10 right now. The market keeps underestimating them and their great defense is about to face a struggling, mistake-prone offense. On the other hand...such a flat spot on the Panthers schedule makes them ripe for an upset. If they come out overconfident...then we have a very low scoring first half and anything can happen after that. Given the volatility in play, it wouldn't be a surprise if either team covered by 10-14 points!
JIM HURLEY loves tough sports betting challenges because they weed out the pretenders and leave the playing field to handicapping champions. He also knows Monday is the most important betting night of the week. He and his team of experts will leave no stone unturned in tracking down the right play.
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Big game football previews continue in the NOTEBOOK with these upcoming matchups...
Midweek: NFL TV Preview...Cleveland at Cincinnati
Friday-Saturday: College Football TV Preview...LSU at Alabama
Sunday: NFL TV Preview...Philadelphia at Dallas
Monday: NFL TV Preview...Chicago at San Diego
This is truly going to be A NOVEMBER TO REMEMBER with all the great games coming up in college and pro football. And, you can win SEVEN DAYS A WEEK if you include the baskets. Whatever the sport...no matter how tough the challenge...you're going to GET THE MONEY with JIM HURLEY'S NETWORK!
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