Carolina (10-0) at Dallas (3-7)
When: Thursday, November 26th 2015
Where: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX
Time: 4:30 ET | TV: CBS
The Carolina Panthers take their perfect 10-0 record on the road this Thanksgiving to Arlington, Texas to take on the Dallas Cowboys. Many people still don’t believe this Panthers team is that good, but any team that can start 10-0 has to be doing something right. After surviving a few close calls earlier this season, Carolina has rolled passed the Titans and Redskins the last two weeks by a combined 71-26. Cam Newton exploded for five touchdown passes last week on 21-of-34 throwing and 246 yards. His QB Rating has been over 100 in three straight games and he now has 20 TD passes on the season, four short of a career-high. Jonathan Stewart has been a spark in the running game rushing for an average of 93.2 yards a game in the last five weeks including 102 last game. Newton doesn’t have any reliable or big-play receivers this season, so he’s been going to TE Greg Olsen a lot. Olsen leads the team with 48 receptions, 718 yards, and 6 touchdowns. The defense has been outstanding ranking in the top 8 in total defense, passing defense, rushing defense, and scoring. They are also tied for third with 31 sacks, just three behind Denver. The Panthers will start a stretch today in which they play four of their final six games on the road.
Tony Romo came back last week to save the Cowboys season for now. They went 0-7 while he was injured, but still have a slim chance to catch the Giants in the NFC East. Romo went 18-of-28 for 227 yards and two touchdowns in Dallas’ win over Miami last week, but he also threw two picks. Wide receiver Dez Bryant is sure glad Romo is back as he was targeted a team-high 9 times on Sunday, but only managed to catch 4 balls for 45 yards. Running back Darren McFadden took over the game with 29 carries and 129 yards – his third 100+ effort in the last five games. The defense seemed to feed off Romo’s return as well. They held Miami to just 9 first downs and 1-of-10 on 3rd down. Dallas is just two games behind the Giants in the East, but the Cowboys do get to play the Redskins twice more and the Jets and Bills. They might need to win out, but this game with Carolina might be their toughest yet.
Oddsmakers truly believe that Romo makes or breaks this team. That’s the only reason I can see a 3-7 team being a PICKEM against a 10-0 team. Romo was a little rusty last week and I’m sure is pretty sore after missing two months. The short rest won’t help that and the Panthers got to believe they are still being disrespected. The Cowboys were humiliated last year by the Eagles on Thanksgiving. I think Carolina can do the same. I’ll take the better team in this one.
Pick: Panthers PK