As much as the media likes to make a big deal of what happens in the four exhibition games every year, the bottom line is that it is still only the preseason. That is unless your offense is the only one in the NFL that hasn’t scored a touchdown, and facing a full-out blitz from both the local and national media that you basically invited in to your camp. That is the situation that New York Jets’ head coach Rex Ryan faces with the Carolina Panthers set to come to town. The debate about the offense and what to do with quarterbacks Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow has become one of the hottest sports betting topics this preseason, and the scrutiny will only get worse until the Jets come out and shut everyone up with a winning performance.
There isn’t nearly as much pressure on Cam Newton and the Panthers, even though expectations will be higher for the NFL Rookie of the Year in his second season. Carolina bounced back strong by beating the Miami Dolphins this past week after losing to the Houston Texans in its exhibition opener, and will look to continue to build the momentum moving forward.
NFL Betting Preview: Carolina Panthers
After struggling under center versus Houston, Newton bounce back strong against Miami when he completed 8 of 11 passes for 119 yards and a touchdown while avoiding any sacks or turnovers. The Panthers will want to see more of the same this week as the second-year passer goes up against a much tougher defense, and we should see a heavy dose of the running back trio of DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart, and Mike Tolbert. Tolbert had one of three Carolina fumbles last week, so ball security will be an important issue this week. The Panthers’ defense registered three sacks and an interception against the Dolphins, and should be hungry to get after a New York offense that has been simply awful so far.
NFL Betting Preview: New York Jets
Whether it’s Sanchez or Tebow under center won’t matter if the offensive line can’t protect its quarterbacks, a glaring deficiency that stood out in a 26-3 loss to the rival New York Giants in week two of the preseason. The Jets allowed seven sacks for a loss of 45 yards and finished the game with just 83 passing yards, and before the end of the game right tackle Wayne Hunter was trending on Twitter for his awful play. Ryan won’t commit to Hunter as his starter following that recent debacle, but there isn’t much depth in New York with Austin Howard the next best option and little cap room to upgrade the spot via free agency.
NFL Betting Preview: Outlook & Pick
While the Jets’ defense has been solid, the offense has been plagued by injuries and inconsistent play at key positions, which has led to an absolutely awful preseason. New York should at least be able to score a touchdown against the Panthers this Sunday, but in a spot like this it is impossible not to take Carolina and the online football betting points.
NFL Betting Pick: Carolina Panthers