Game two of Thursday’s triple header pits the undefeated Carolina Panthers against the suddenly revived Dallas Cowboys. While the Cowboys dropped seven straight while Tony Romo was injured, his return and subsequent win suddenly makes this game against the Panthers a bit more evenly matched. The point spread is currently favoring the Panthers at -1.
Thanksgiving Thursday Football: Carolina Panthers vs. Dallas Cowboys
Point Spread: Panthers -1 Over/under: 45.5 Date: Thursday, November 26, 4:30pm ET Location:AT&T Stadium, Dallas, TX
Cam Newton is figuring out how to be a pocket passer in the NFL, which has given balance to a team formerly known for its stout defense. Coming off of a five touchdown performance, Newton will face a tougher Dallas defense that will test Carolina’s offensive line. The Panthers will need to rely on quick timing routes underneath as well as seam routes to the tight end to help loosen up the Cowboys talented front seven.
The secondary for the -1 favored Panthers has been stellar this season, ranking eighth in the league when defending the pass. Their success and ability to cover Dallas’ talented pass-catchers hinges upon the front four to get to the quarterback. Romo is one of the more elusive quarterbacks in the league. If the line can keep him in the pocket, it will take away Dallas’ ability to find receivers open when the play breaks down.
Dallas might not have won a single game without Romo, but that has not been due to poor defensive play. The +1 underdog Cowboys are allowing just 22 points per game and will need that type of performance to get a win against the Panthers, who are scoring an average of 29 points per game. Dallas will need to find a way to slow down Carolina’s fourth ranked rushing offense led by Jonathan Stewart. If they can bottle Stewart up, it will put pressure on Newton to find his less-than noteworthy core of receivers to beat the Cowboy’s 12th ranked passing defense.
The Cowboys are clearly a much better team with Romo under center, which means they should fare well against the Panthers despite them being one of the best defenses in the league. With both Bryant and Romo healthy, and Terrance Williams making a big impact, they could stretch Carolina’s secondary thin. Add in the punishing running style of Darren McFadden and the Cowboys could be primed to give the Panthers their biggest test of the season.
Thanksgiving Thursday Football Prediction
It’s been just one game back, but Romo is going to be the x-factor for the Cowboys in a game that holds playoff implications. Dallas will be fighting to win a weak NFC East while Carolina shoots for home field advantage in the NFC. With the Cowboys unlikely to get a wild card spot, they’ll be playing for the division title and their only hope to reach the postseason.
Check out the rest of our best picks against the spread in Week 12 NFL action!