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Buffalo Bills vs. Carolina Panthers Point Spread - Pick

Buffalo Bills (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS) vs. Carolina Panthers (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS)
Week 2 NFL
Date/Time: Sunday, September 17, 2017 at 1PM EST
Where: Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, North Carolina

By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper,

Point Spread: BUF +7/CAR -7
Over/Under Total: 42.5

The Buffalo Bills come to Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte for a week two Sunday matchup against the Carolina Panthers. Both teams were victorious in week one and both teams covered the spread. Buffalo beat the Jets, 21-12, in head coach Sean McDermott's debut. They now look to score a more-impressive victory against a Carolina team that went into San Fran on Sunday and smashed the 49ers 23-3. Who can take it to 2-0 this Sunday?

Buffalo has a revamped roster, with over half the team having not been on the Bills last season. First signs were pretty positive. We should temper some of our optimism, however, with the Jets looking like one of the worst teams in the league. But Buffalo was able to run the ball and stop the opposing run. And if they can keep doing that, things might end up OK this season for Buffalo. This tough road spot should give us a better idea of where the '17 Bills truly stand.

On one hand, it wasn't a vintage performance for the Bills offense. A few scoring chances were ruined; once when Tyrod Taylor threw a pick and had it returned 48 yards when in really close. And Stephen Hauschka, Buffalo's new place-kicker, missed his only FG attempt in his Bills debut. Still, after missing a few weeks in the preseason with a concussion, Taylor threw for 224 yards and two touchdowns and as is his wont, had a handful of useful runs.

The Buffalo run-game was good, with LeSean McCoy going for 110 yards and also catching five balls. Mike Tolbert looks to get some work, as well, as he had 42 yards and a touchdown. Aerially, which figures to be Buffalo's weakest area on offense, Taylor hit first-year Bills receiver Jordan Matthews with some nice passes, also connecting with Charles Clay and Andre Holmes with TD strikes. They had over 400 yards on offense, controlled the time of possession battle, and limited their mistakes to a relative few.

Naturally, things figure to get harder moving forward, but the Buffalo defense looked good in week one, allowing only 11 first downs and just over 200 total yards on offense for the Jets. In the secondary, Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde both registered interceptions. Poyer also had a sack. Linebacker Ramon Humber was all over the field and was aided in the middle with Lorenzo Alexander performing well. Tre'Davious White, a rookie, was effective at one corner, with Leonard Johnson thriving on the other corner. Up-front, Shaq Lawson and Jerry Hughes showed what Buffalo is hoping will be a very tough line.


Things step up a few notches this week, as the Bills travel to Charlotte to face Carolina. Like Buffalo, the Panthers' week one opponent makes it so you can take the win only so much to heart. San Francisco is still working on a lot of things and the road to respectability might be a long one. Still, the 23-3 road win for the Panthers rang of quality. After getting minimal preseason work, Cam Newton looked ready to go, though he did appear rusty. Carolina has a lot of new pieces as they attempt to rediscover their NFC championship form of 2015. But a 20-point win is a good sign, nonetheless.

Newton was 14-for-25 with 171 yards and two TD throws, along with a pick. They didn't get the boost in offense promised when they drafted Christian McCaffrey and Curtis Samuel. With a gimpy ankle, Samuel never played and McCaffrey was uneven in his NFL debut. The first-rounder caught 5 balls for 38 yards and ran for 47 yards on 13 carries. He also didn't make an impact on three punt returns. It's only one week, so we aren't rushing to judgment. RB Jonathan Stewart added some production on the ground and caught a TD pass. Newton hit Russell Shepard for a 40-yard TD. But Greg Olsen, Kelvin Benjamin, and Devin Funchess were pretty subdued.

The defense was pretty solid for the Panthers. Again, that was against a San Fran offense that looked pretty ramshackle. Still, initial signs were positive. It's good to see game-changing linebacker Luke Kuechly back out there, as was active throughout the game with an interception to boot. Running mate Thomas Davis showed he is still in vintage form. Shaq Thompson had a sack and if he continues to grow, the middle will be that much fiercer. The secondary looked really good, led by Daryl Worley, James Bradberry, Kurt Coleman, and Mike Adams, as they kept the SF passing game in check. The Niners had just 13 first downs and a little over 200 yards of total yardage. Let's just say Buffalo will have their hands a little fuller this week.

Buffalo is a little out of their element, not often playing in NFC South stadiums, as they do this week. And at some point, their lack of a well-rounded offense could hurt, particularly against the better defenses they play. Sure, Carolina's offense can be flat sometimes and that could be true against a Buffalo defense that seems reborn under McDermott. Speaking of Buffalo's new head coach, he returns to the site of much of his success, as he formerly coordinated the Panthers' "D" before taking the Buffalo gig. I see a scrappy game where Buffalo manages to cover.

Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the Buffalo Bills plus 7 points. Tired of your credit card not working for sportsbook deposit? End that problem today and bet the Buffalo vs. Carolina game from home by signing up at Bovada Sportsbook where your credit card WILL work and where you'll receive a generous 100% sign-up bonus!

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