After the Panthers’ 20-17 win over the Falcons in early November, Cam Newton had a message for the rest of the NFL.
The Carolina quarterback threw his arm around then-injured tight end Greg Olsen, looked into the camera and playfully predicted, “Just wait ’til I get my dog back! Just wait ’til I get my dog back! It’s gonna be over for you suckers!”
Newton will get Olsen back for Sunday’s game at the New York Jets. The Panthers are 4½-point favorites.
Both teams are coming off byes but are headed in opposite directions. New York is headed for somewhere in the swamps of Jersey after losing four of its past five games following a three-game win streak.
Carolina might be headed for the playoffs if it builds on its three-game win streak. The Panthers (7-3) are second in the NFL in total defense (278 yards per game) and fifth in scoring defense (18 points per game). They exploded for 45 points in a 45-21 win over the Dolphins before their bye and have rushed for more than 200 yards in each of their past two games.
Newton compiled 349 yards of total offense and four touchdown passes against Miami. He’ll have his favorite target at his disposal Sunday, when Carolina tries to complete a sweep of the AFC East.
The Jets have struggled against tight ends, allowing six TDs. They’ve also been vulnerable against the run, with the league’s 20th-ranked rush defense (117.9 ypg).
In our minds and wallets, we’re gone to Carolina, which is 4-1 against the spread on the road.
Four more plays for Week 12 (home team in CAPS):
BENGALS (-8) over Browns: Cincinnati has won and covered the past six meetings by an average of 22.6 points. The Bengals beat Cleveland 31-7 earlier this season behind four TD passes by Andy Dalton. The Browns are 2-8 ATS this season and are on a 3-13-1 ATS slide on the road. Cincinnati is tied for 10th in the league in scoring defense (19.9 ppg), and Cleveland quarterback DeShone Kizer has thrown a league-high 14 interceptions.
49ERS (+7) over Seahawks: We initially liked San Francisco in this spot with the expectation that quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo would get his first start after the team’s bye. While we don’t agree with coach Kyle Shanahan’s decision to stick with C.J. Beathard, we’re sticking with the Niners getting a touchdown at home. The Seahawks are banged up on defense, are coming off a short week and have failed to cover the past two meetings. Seattle escaped with a 12-9 home win over San Francisco earlier this season and is on a 2-6-1 ATS skid on the road.
Jaguars (-5) over CARDINALS: Arizona has averaged 14.2 points in its past four games and should continue to struggle against Jacksonville, which has the NFL’s No. 1 scoring defense (14.1 ppg) and pass defense (162 ypg) and leads the league in sacks (40). The Jaguars are on a four-game winning streak, their longest in 10 years, and are on a 7-1 ATS run on the road.
RAMS (-2.5) over Saints: Two of the NFL’s biggest surprises, Los Angeles (7-3) and New Orleans (8-2) rank in the league’s top 10 in scoring offense and defense. We expect the Saints to have a bit of a letdown after rallying from 15 points down with three minutes left in Sunday’s overtime win over the Redskins and then having to travel across the country.
Last week: 5-0 against the spread