Look to the Total for Chiefs vs. Panthers NFL Preseason Pick

Jordan Sharp

Friday, August 15, 2014 3:05 PM GMT

Friday, Aug. 15, 2014 3:05 PM GMT

Sunday’s preseason schedule is somewhat light, however one of the two games that close out the weekend is the Chiefs and Panthers. This will be the first time the Panthers have their starting quarterback, however can we expect him to play a lot here in Week 2?

Cam Newton’s Shoulders
Cam Newton is a very large man. It’s one of the reasons he is so successful at what he does. However I hope his shoulders are broad, because after this offseason, his Pro Bowl shoulders are going to have to carry plenty of the load in Carolina.

Even though the defense in Charlotte is somewhat similar to last season, the offense is very different from a season ago. With a totally new wide receiving core, it’s going to take more than some preseason snaps to get Newton and those receivers in sync. Reports from Carolina are that Kelvin Benjamin and Newton have been clicking during training camp, however if the Panthers expect a rookie to lead them in receiving this season, they may need to accept they won’t win 12 games again this season.

For this game against the Chiefs, I expect the offense to continue to struggle, even if Newton plays some snaps. I can’t expect the Panthers to throw the only player keeping them from being 4-12 this season into the fire too much coming off of surgery this summer. I don’t think Newton will play more than three series, and that may limit the Panthers’ offensive upside this weekend.

 

The Sharp Pick
On the other side of things, I expect Andy Reid and the Chiefs to play their starters for some extended periods, however will that be enough to have offensive success against the Panthers. Kansas City played solidly on offense last week against the Bengals in what ended up being a very high scoring game for Week 1 of the preseason. However some of those touchdowns were off of turnovers and special teams scores, so underneath it appears the Chiefs may not have the potential to blow up in this game.

Alex Smith, Chase Daniel and Tyler Bray likely won’t put on much of a show against the Panthers’ defense, even if Carolina doesn’t play their starters much. Last week these three guys accounted for only one of the Chiefs’ offensive touchdowns. Plus, the Chiefs only scored two offensive TDs in the entire game last week against the Bengals.

On the other side, assuming Newton doesn’t play a lot, Derek Anderson and Joe Webb likely won’t be much better, if at all. In the end, this is going to be a lower scoring game, and I think the total of 39 points is ripe for an 'under' NFL pick. I’d be surprised if there were more than two touchdowns per team this season, and despite neither team having much offensive upside, the total is still somewhat high. Granted there are several totals higher than 40 points this week, but 39 points is still too high for these two teams and their benches on offense. Defense will be the name of the game, so take the 'under.'

My Free NFL Pick: Under 39 

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