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Carolina Panthers vs. Washington Football Team Odds and Game Pick (2020)

by December 26, 2020

The Washington Football Team was 2-7 earlier this year. Given that the New York Giants are huge underdogs to the Baltimore Ravens this upcoming weekend, Washington could take the field late Sunday afternoon (this game was moved to a 4:05 p.m. Eastern time start, up from 1 p.m., when the Giants play Baltimore) knowing that if it beats the Carolina Panthers, it will win the NFC East Division championship and host a wild card game on January 9 or 10. It would be a remarkable story for a team that was going nowhere. It is hard to find very many, if any, NFL teams that went from 2-7 to the playoffs. Washington could complete that journey on Sunday against a struggling Carolina Panthers team that has been competitive in nearly every game this season but hasn’t won since November 22 against the Detroit Lions. The Panthers have been playing lots of close games but simply can’t get over the hump.

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Details

  • Opening Line: Washington -2.5
  • Location: FedEx Field, Landover, Maryland
  • Start Time: 4:05 PM ET
  • Last Meeting: Panthers 21 vs. Washington 29 (12/1/19)
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VIEW PICKS
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View consensus picks and matchup notes from top betting experts for the Panthers vs. Washington >>

Overview

The Carolina Panthers have lost a lot of games by one possession – eight or fewer points – this season. Their most recent loss to the Green Bay Packers was a one-possession loss, 24-16. They lost by one score to the Denver Broncos the week before. They lost by one point to the Minnesota Vikings on Nov. 29. They simply can’t finish games well. Carolina’s overall season record in games decided by eight points or fewer is 2-8. It’s hard to be that competitive and lose that many close games, but the Panthers have pulled it off.

The encouraging part of the Panthers’ big-picture outlook is that star running back Christian McCaffrey has played only three games this season. If McCaffrey returns healthy in 2021, this team could really take off. In the meantime, though, not having McCaffrey is a devastating blow for an offense that clearly depends on the versatile skill player for most of its production, especially in crunch-time fourth-quarter situations.

The Washington Football Team has a defense that should be able to contain Carolina’s offense. The Football Team is in the top 10 in the NFL in sacks, led by star rookie Chase Young, who has been the difference-maker the team was hoping for. Washington lost this past Sunday to the Seattle Seahawks, but the team has won four of its last five games. The difference for Washington against Seattle was that Dwayne Haskins replaced an injured Alex Smith. Haskins struggled a lot in the first three quarters before finally playing well in the fourth quarter. It was too little too late for Haskins, who is expected to give way to a recovered Smith for this game against Carolina. That should be a boost for Washington.

Trends

  • The Panthers are 6-0 ATS in their last six games as an underdog.
  • The Panthers are 1-5-1 ATS in their last seven games in December.
  • Washington is 5-0 ATS in its last five games. 

Bottom Line

The Washington Football Team has won close games over the past month, while Carolina has not. Alex Smith makes enough plays for this team to win. Carolina will once again miss Christian McCaffrey in big moments. Washington by a field goal seems just about right for this game.

Pick: Washington -1

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Dave Golokhov is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Dave, check out his archive and follow him @davegolokhov.

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