NFL Week 15 Pick: Green Bay Packers at Carolina Panthers

Matthew Jordan

Thursday, October 5, 2017 8:06 PM UTC

Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017 8:06 PM UTC

Something about a two-time NFL MVP who wears No. 12 for the Packers returning from a broken collarbone this week? Not sure what all the fuss is about. Survivor Pick: Carolina.

Green Bay Packers at Carolina Panthers (-2.5, 45)

These teams last met in Week 9 of the 2015 season, a 37-29 Panthers home victory. Carolina led by 23 points in the fourth quarter before Aaron Rodgers rallied Green Bay and nearly gave the Packers a chance at OT. Rodgers threw for 369 yards and four TDs. He and the offense took over following an interception of Cam Newton with 3:38 left in the game that gave the Packers the ball at the Carolina 22. Down by 8, Rodgers' fourth-and-goal pass from the Carolina 4 was intercepted by linebacker Thomas Davis. Newton threw for three scores and rushed for 57 yards and a touchdown. There has been no official word on Rodgers as of this writing, but he’s almost surely going to play for the first time since breaking his right collarbone in a loss at Minnesota on Oct. 15. Including that game, the Packers are 3-5 without him, although Brett Hundley has led overtime wins the past two weeks vs. Tampa Bay and in Cleveland. Green Bay was down 14 in the fourth quarter to the woeful Browns. Hundley threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Davante Adams in overtime. Carolina ended Minnesota’s eight-game winning streak and moved into a tie for first in the NFC South with a 31-24 victory over the Vikings. Rodgers is a stud, but even he will be rusty.

  • Home team is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 meetings.
  • Panthers are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games overall.
Free NFL Pick: Panthers -2.5Best Line Offered: 5Dimes

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If the Packers had lost in Cleveland, it might not be worth bringing Rodgers back less than two months after collarbone surgery. Rodgers was playing at an MVP level before Anthony Barr injured him. Rodgers had thrown 13 touchdowns and just three interceptions, and the Packers' only loss in their first five games with him at the helm came at Atlanta. I tell you what, I wouldn’t want to play the Packers if they are able to sneak into the playoffs with a healthy Rodgers. But they might not make it even if they were to win out. Carolina coach Ron Rivera said the chatter around Rodgers' return "will be a big distraction for everybody." Defensive coordinator Steve Wilks said the focus has to be "on us." He pointed out that the Panthers have already faced some of the best quarterbacks in the NFL this season in New Orleans' Drew Brees (twice), Atlanta’s Matt Ryan, Detroit’s Matthew Stafford and New England’s Tom Brady. Rodgers will be facing a Carolina defense that’s one of the NFL’s best. That unit sacked Case Keenum six times and forced three turnovers to keep the Vikings from clinching the NFC North. James Bradberry and Daryl Worley both got their first interceptions of the season, keeping this team from being the first in Carolina history to go without an interception from a cornerback.

  • Over is 7-2 in Packers last 9 vs. a team with a winning record.
  • Over is 6-1 in Panthers last 7 games following a straight up win.
Free NFL Pick: Over 45Best Line Offered: Bet365

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