Week 15 Preview: Carolina Panthers vs. Green Bay Packers

Week 15 Preview: Carolina Panthers vs. Green Bay Packers

by December 18, 2020 0 comments

Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams are unstoppable. Rodgers is breaking records, some of which he held previously, and Adams is somehow playing better than he ever has before. The Green Bay Packers offense has officially passed the Kansas City Chiefs with the highest offensive DVOA in the NFL, and Rodgers passed Patrick Mahomes as the most efficient quarterback in the NFL. 

Going into Week 15, Green Bay is in control of the NFC and the Carolina Panthers are looking for a bright side to a lost season without star running back Christian McCaffrey. The Panthers allow the 13th most yards in the NFL, and the Packers produce the second-most yards of any offense in the NFL. After abusing the Lions last week, Rodgers and Adams are primed for another impressive performance. 

In his first press conference this week, Packers head coach Matt LaFleur summed up his two stars well. 

“Aaron, there’s nobody playing better than he is. Davante Adams, there’s no receiver playing better than he is,” said LaFleur. 

Rodgers is making his case for NFL MVP, and it is a very good case at that. Rodgers has impressive NFL ranks for quarterbacks, including 3,685 yards passing (third), 69.6 completion percentage (fourth), 39 touchdown passes (first), 84.9 QBR (first), 39-4 touchdown/interception ratio (first), and a 119.7 passer rating (first). At 37 years old, Rodgers is playing at nearly the level of his historic 2011 MVP season and matching 25-year-old Mahomes every step of the way. 

Not to be outdone, Adams is having the best year of his career, and it is not even close. Through 11 games, Adams has 1,144 yards receiving and 14 touchdowns. With two fewer games played than the other top-five NFL receivers in total yards, first in yards per game, and tied for first in touchdowns with Tyreek Hill. In a year where Rodgers needed to prove he was still a top player in the league, there is no better running mate than Adams. 

The Panthers started off their season well with three wins in their first five games. However, after losing McCaffrey for injury during the majority of 2020, Carolina has fallen to the bottom of the NFC South with their 4-9 record. Carolina has lost four of their last five, with their only win being the game against the Detroit Lions that resulted in Detroit cleaning house. 

On defense for the Packers, Za’Darius Smith is leading a Packers pass rush that has improved in the last few weeks. Smith has 10.5 sacks, which is good for third in the NFL. Smith also has the second-highest pressure rate in the NFL, which has assisted the play of the NFL’s top corner, Jaire Alexander. With Robby Anderson and Curtis Samuel being the biggest offensive threats for the Panthers, Alexander and Kevin King will play a big role in Green Bay’s success on Saturday. 

One of the biggest reasons the Packers have succeeded is the culture built by LaFleur. With role players necessary in his jet sweep, motion-heavy offense, Rodgers explained the importance of buying into your role. 

“When you give a guy a role, that empowers him. And when that guy embraces that role, it elevates the entire squad,” said Rodgers. 

Given the Packers’ recent struggles on defense, particularly with stopping the run, their role players will need to step up again on Saturday against Teddy Bridgewater, Mike Davis, and the Panthers. 

Game Info: 

Date: December 19, 2020

Start Time: 7:15 PM CT

Location: Green Bay, WI

Stadium: Lambeau Field

TV Info: FOX

Betting Odds Sponsored by Jazz Sportsbook 

Points Spread: CAR +8.5 (-110) | GB -8.5 (-110)

Moneyline: CAR (+330) | GB (-430)

Over/Under: O 51.5 (-110) | U 51.5 (-110)

When the Packers are involved, bet the over every time. The Packers are averaging 31 points per game, and their defense is average enough to allow enough points every week. Although playing the spread here could be a messy game, Green Bay could very well cover. A Moneyline and over combination would be the safest bet. 

Prediction

The Packers will win this game, and it should not be that close for Green Bay. The Panthers will not lay down and roll over for the Packers, but Rodgers wants an NFC Championship Game to be played at Lambeau, and to make that happen he needs to win out. The Packers defense has done well against struggling offenses in 2020, and without McCaffrey, the Panthers qualify as a struggling offense. The only team with a winning record that the Panthers have beaten this year is the Arizona Cardinals, and Green Bay will not be added to that list on Saturday night. 

Final Score: Carolina Panthers 20, Green Bay Packers 34


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MJ is the host of "Next Man Up w/MJ Hurley" and "eXamining the XFL" MJ is also a reporter at Fansided for Oakland A's and at XFL Board.

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