Houston comes in at a 10-3 clip facing a Panthers squad that is 4-9 overall. Carolina has lost 4 of 6 ATS and 2-4 overall on the road and are really struggling after showing so much promise. The fact is, Carolina continues to find ways to lose after leading in almost every game. And to me it all starts and finishes with the defence. They rank 24th in sacks and have shown zero interest in attacking opposing QB's. Houston's T.J. Yates is ready for the challenge as he has time with his mobility to make plays. He's 46/84 on the year completing 55% but steadily improving. Last week he threw for 300 yards and 2 TD's.
Carolina's defence is allowing opponents an enormous 6.07 offensive yards per play (29th in the league) and 27.3 points against per game. To make matters worse for Carolina, they will be facing a Houston team that just clinched an AFC South title last weekend that boasts a +10 turnover margin to Carolina's -5. Houston's top ranked DE will be carrying huge momentum that boasts only a 16.1 points against this season and will create a couple key turnovers that will make the difference in the ballgame. The only question mark I have is the absence of Wade Phillips on the sideline. However, I believe the defence has been prepared by Phillips and should easily get after it with an amazing game plan from Reggie Herring. The Texans are 2nd as a defence for 1st down rushing and 1st down passing. Cam Newton won't have his typical day of big yards early in the series to create short 3rd down conversions. This is where Houston's 4th ranked defence in 3rd down conversions will additionally take control.
The Panther's O-Line is banged up and Houston's fierce running attack will be lighting up on the board and once again on display. Houston ranks 2nd in 1st down rushing, 2nd in 3rd down conversions and 2nd in rushing yards. They will be facing a defence that looks to be facing a beating. The Texan's lead the league with average time of possession and couple last week that they only attempted 28 rushes to 44 passes, they will be emphasizing the run game all day. The double headed monster of Foster (543 yards receiving, 967 yards rushing) and Tate (820 yards rushing) will be seeking havoc.
Houston has held 7 consecutive opponents under 20 points and appears there will be no letdown in site as they push for a 1st round bye. Houston has covered 5 straight ATS, and are 5-1 at home SU and seeking a 7th straight overall win. My model comes in at Houston 35-17. Take Houston-6.5. Houston!