NFL Week 1 Pick: Carolina Panthers at San Francisco 49ers

Matthew Jordan

Tuesday, August 1, 2017 10:49 PM UTC

Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2017 10:49 PM UTC

Which Carolina Panthers will we see in 2017? The dominant club from 2015 that reached the Super Bowl or the disappointing team of last year? Or somewhere in between? The Panthers open their season in San Francisco.

Carolina Panthers at San Francisco 49ers (+5.5, 48)

If the Panthers had to choose one NFC team it had to open on the road against this season, it almost surely would be the 49ers, who likely have the conference’s least talented roster. Survivor Pick: Panthers.

So which Cam Newton will we get this year? He was a dual-threat superstar in 2015 in directing the NFL’s best offense, winning league MVP honors and leading his team to the Super Bowl. Alas, the Super Bowl Loser’s Curse hit the Panthers hard last year as they slipped to 6-10. Newton wasn’t close to the same player, although he dealt with injuries and a porous offensive line. He had offseason shoulder surgery and didn’t debut this preseason until Week 3. Meanwhile, this will be the highly anticipated debut of Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey, one of the Offensive Rookie of the Year favorites. He looked the part in the preseason and the Cats will use him all over the field. It’s also the head coaching debut of San Francisco’s Kyle Shanahan. He was last seen as Atlanta’s OC making some questionable play calls in the Super Bowl as the Falcons blew their seemingly insurmountable third-quarter lead to New England. Shanahan and GM John Lynch have their work cut out as there’s not much on this roster.

  • Panthers are 3-1-1 ATS in their last 5 road games.
  • 49ers are 3-8 ATS in their last 11 vs. NFC.
  • 49ers are 4-11 ATS in their last 15 games overall.
  • 49ers are 1-6 ATS in their last 7 home games.
  • Panthers are 8-1 ATS in their last 9 meetings in San Francisco.
Free NFL Pick: Panthers -5.5Best Line Offered: GT Bets

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Unless you are a devoted 49ers fan, I challenge you to name all their skill position starters. It’s journeyman backup Brian Hoyer under center, although third-round rookie C.J. Beathard likely takes the reins at some point this season. Carlos Hyde is an OK running back but can’t stay healthy. The Niners signed Pierre Garcon to be their No. 1 receiver. This group finished 31st in total offense in 2016 and likely won’t be any better. Carolina should be fine offensively if Newton is healthy and with McCaffrey on the roster. The defense badly missed cornerback Josh Norman in 2016 after he was allowed to walk in free agency for Washington. In 2015, the Panthers ranked No. 6 in overall defense and 11th against the pass. Last year, that group fell to No. 20 overall and No. 29 vs. the pass. I’m not confident Hoyer will do much against that unit, however. Or much against any defense. This might be my favorite ‘under’ pick of Week 1 even though Carolina won 46-27 at home vs. the Niners in Week 2 last year.

  • Under is 4-1-1 in Panthers last 6 vs. NFC.
  • Under is 4-1 in Panthers last 5 games in Week 1.
  • Under is 20-8 in 49ers last 28 home games.
Free NFL Pick: ‘Under’ 48Best Line Offered: Bookmaker

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