TV Schedule: Sunday, Dec. 15, 4:05 p.m. ET, CBS
Stadium: Bank of America Stadium
Weather: High 55, Low 27
Line: Carolina (-11)
The Carolina Panthers have been one of the hottest teams in the NFL for the past couple of months after a slow start to the season. With a 9-4 record, the Panthers are in line for a wild card berth and they would be quite the dangerous wild card team in the postseason. Cam Newton is having a solid season that some could make a case for MVP for the young quarterback. Newton has passed for 2,776 yards and 20 touchdowns on the year to go along with 495 rushing yards and six touchdowns on the ground. Veteran wide out Steve Smith leads all receivers with 60 catches for 681 yards and four touchdowns while tight end Greg Olsen is close behind with 58 catches for 651 yards and five scores. DeAngelo Williams leads the ninth-best rushing attack in the league with 662 yards and two scores.
On the other side of the field, the New York Jets have been a hard team to measure this season. New York has relied on rookie quarterback Geno Smith this season to get the job done as Mark Sanchez went down in the preseason with an injury. Smith has been relatively mediocre this season, passing for 2,475 yards and nine touchdowns while turning the ball over more often than not. No receivers have really stood out on this team, but the run game has been relatively solid. Chris Ivory leads all rushers with 639 yards and three scores while Bilal Powell is close behind with 530 yards and just a single touchdown for the 11th-ranked rushing offense in the league.
Defensively, the Panthers have been one of the best units in the league. Carolina ranks first in points allowed and rushing yards allowed per game while ranking second in total yards and fifth in passing yards allowed per game. The Jets haven’t been as solid as the Panthers this season, ranking 23rd in points allowed, 24th in passing yards allowed and 11th in total yards allowed per game.
PREDICTION: Jets 13, Panthers 31
Connor Muldowney is a columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @Connormuldowney, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.