Carolina Panthers vs. Green Bay Packers Matchup Preview (12/19/20): Betting Odds, Depth Charts, Live Stream (Watch Online)
The Packers have won five of their last six games, and they’re rolling towards the #1 seed in the NFC after the Saints lost to the Eagles last week. With a 10-3 record, the Packers hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Saints that puts them at #1 in the NFC. Green Bay also clinched their division last week after beating Detroit and seeing the Vikings lose to the Buccaneers. Meanwhile, the Panthers sit at 4-9 and are on the cusp of being eliminated from the playoffs after losing to the Broncos last week. These two teams are headed in opposite directions, and there isn’t a lot to suggest that will change after this week. For odds movement and full matchup history, visit the Carolina Panthers at Green Bay Packers Matchup Page.
Date: Sunday, December 19th, 2020
Time: 5:15 PM ET
Location: Lambeau Field – Green Bay, Wisconsin
TV Coverage: FOX
Panthers vs. Packers Live Stream
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Carolina Panthers: OT Russell Okung (calf) Q, S Tre Boston (hamstring) Q, OG Dennis Daley (concussion) Q, RB Christian McCaffrey (thigh) D, WR D.J. Moore (ankle/COVID-19) IR, DT Zach Kerr (COVID-19) IR
Green Bay Packers: WR Allen Lazard (abdomen) Q, LB Za’Darius Smith (ankle) Q, OT Rick Wagner (knee) Q, TE Jace Sternberger (concussion) Q, TE Marcedes Lewis (knee) Q, LB Rashan Gary (hip) Q, CB Kevin King (Achilles) Q, P J.K. Scott (quadriceps) Q
Carolina Panthers Analysis
It’s been an up-and-down season for Teddy Bridgewater in his first year as the starter for Carolina, and he ranks close to middle-of-the-pack in most efficiency-driven metrics. Bridgewater has completed 70.7% of his passes, the 2nd-best rate in the NFL. He’s thrown for 3,102 yards with 14 touchdowns to 8 interceptions, putting him on a 16-game pace of 4,136 passing yards with 19 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He’s also run for 239 yards and 4 touchdowns this season. Last week wasn’t the best outing for Bridgewater as he completed just 75% of his passes for 283 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions. He did run for 31 yards and a touchdown, though. The Packers have allowed a 95.8 passer rating, the 11th-best rate in the NFL.
The Panthers’ rushing offense hasn’t been the same without Christian McCaffrey this season, and it doesn’t sound like CMC will be able to return to the field this week. The Packers have allowed 4.6 rushing yards per carry, the 10th-most in the NFL, so perhaps Mike Davis will be able to get it done on the ground. He’s coming off a great game against the Broncos with 11 carries for 51 yards and 2 touchdowns as well as 5 catches for 42 yards. Davis hasn’t started every game this season, but he’s been very effective when he does start. He’s also been a big part of the passing game as he’s caught 57 balls for 371 yards and 2 touchdowns – that’s a 16-game pace of 70 catches for 456 yards and 2.5 touchdowns.
Carolina’s receiving corps has been the team’s biggest strength this season as Robby Anderson, D.J. Moore, and Curtis Samuel have been electric this season. Moore missed last week’s game after testing positive for COVID-19, and Anderson stepped up with 8 catches for 84 yards. That pushes him up to 83 catches (8th-most) for 996 yards (11th-most) on the season – he’s on a 16-game pace now of 102 catches for 1,225 yards in his first year with Carolina. Samuel put up 7 catches for 68 yards against Denver in addition to 2 carries for 22 yards. D.J. Moore will hopefully be back this week for the Panthers, and he has 50 catches for 924 yards and 4 touchdowns this season. Moore has 18.5 yards per reception this year, which leads the NFL among players with 50+ catches.
The Panthers’ offensive line has been solid this season as they’re allowing Teddy Bridgewater to be sacked just 2 times per game, the 13th-fewest in football. Russell Okung and Taylor Moton have been a stellar duo at the offensive tackle spots, although Okung could be out this week. If Okung doesn’t play, Za’Darius Smith could wreak havoc on the Panthers’ offensive line’s left side. Matt Paradis has also been stellar on the interior of the offensive line and is one of the best centers in the NFL. Chris Reed and John Miller have been inconsistent as the team’s offensive guards, but overall this unit has been pretty solid.
Defensively, the Panthers have struggled as they’re allowing 364.4 yards from scrimmage per game, the 11th-most, and 25.5 points per game, the 13th-most. Carolina’s pass defense has been troubling as they have allowed a passer rating of 101.0 this season, the seventh-highest in the NFL. They have also allowed 23 touchdowns to just 5 interceptions. The Panthers allowed Drew Lock to throw for four touchdowns and zero interceptions last week, so Aaron Rodgers will likely destroy them. The Panthers’ run defense has been better than expected, but Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams provide a tough challenge for them this week.
Carolina Panthers Depth Chart
Green Bay Packers Analysis
Aaron Rodgers continues to roll through the NFL as he’s completed 70+% of his passes in six straight games and has thrown for 290+ yards in six of seven games. Rodgers has thrown 39 touchdowns to just 4 interceptions, a 16-game pace of 48 touchdowns to 5 interceptions. Since his poor performance against Tampa Bay in Week 6, in which he finished with no touchdowns and 2 interceptions, Rodgers has thrown for 26 touchdowns to 1 interception over 8 games – that’s an absurd 16-game pace of 52 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Rodgers leads the NFL with a QBR of 84.9 and a passer rating of 119.7. He also ranks fourth in the NFL in completion percentage at 69.6%.
Of course, Aaron Rodgers hasn’t been alone in leading the Packers to 31.5 points per game, the most in the NFL. Aaron Jones has run for 5.1 YPC, the fifth-most among all running backs. He’s carried the ball 160 times for 823 yards and 7 touchdowns and is on a 16-game pace of 233 carries for 1,197 yards and 10 touchdowns. Jamaal Williams has also continued to produce with 113 carries for 473 yards and 2 touchdowns – that’s a 16-game pace of 151 carries for 630 yards and 3 touchdowns. Jones and Williams have been perhaps the best running back duo in football this season.
Rodgers’s production has extended to the team’s receiving corps, most of which is made up by Davante Adams. Adams has 91 catches this year despite missing two games, and he has accounted for 29.1% of Rodgers’s completions. He’s taken those 91 catches for 1,144 yards and 14 touchdowns, putting him on a monstrous 16-game pace of 132 catches for 1,664 yards and 20 touchdowns. Robert Tonyan ranks second on the team with 46 catches for 533 yards and has 9 touchdowns. Jones and Williams have combined for 67 catches this year, while nine total players on the team have caught a touchdown pass this season.
The Packers’ offensive line has been one of the best in the NFL this season as they’re allowing just 1.1 sacks per game, the 2nd-fewest in the NFL. David Bakhtiari and Rick Wagner have been arguably the best offensive tackle duo in the NFL this season, and the team hasn’t missed Bryan Bulaga as much as some expected. The interior of the offensive line has been solid ,with Elgton Jenkins, Lucas Patrick, and Billy Turner locking down the middle of the field. The Panthers’ defense has just 19 sacks through 13 games, so this offensive line doesn’t have to work too hard to keep Rodgers upright this week.
Defensively, the Packers have very much been up-and-down this season. Green Bay has allowed 24.9 points per game, putting them in the middle of the pack, but they’ve allowed just 335.7 yards from scrimmage per game, the ninth-fewest in the NFL. Za’Darius Smith is the headliner as he has 10.5 sacks through 13 games, and the team has racked up 35 sacks through 13 games, the 10th-most in the NFL. In the secondary, Jaire Alexander has been one of the best cornerbacks in football, while Darnell Savage and Adrian Amos are among the best safety duos in football. The Packers allow the 12th-lowest third-down rate, but they’re allowing a touchdown on 67.5% of red-zone trips this year, the fifth-highest rate in football. While the Packers do have some star talent on both sides of the ball, the Panthers likely have the ability to put up points on this defense.
Green Bay Packers Depth Chart
Spread: Packers -8.5, Panthers +8.5
Moneyline: Packers -420, Panthers +340
Over/Under: 51.5 points
The Packers have built one of the best home-field advantages in the NFL as they’ve gone 11-1 in their last 12 games in Green Bay. To the Panthers’ credit, they have gone 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games on the road, so Carolina may be able to keep this close at Lambeau. Aaron Rodgers is on an absolute tear, and the Carolina defense isn’t going to be the one to stop his absurd production. He and Davante Adams should torch a Carolina secondary that just allowed Drew Lock to throw for 4 touchdowns. The Panthers, however, have the offensive pieces to keep this game within a score. Jaire Alexander can’t cover Robby Anderson, D.J. Moore, and Curtis Samuel, and I trust Matt Rhule and Joe Brady to put together a strong scheme against Green Bay. I’m picking the over here with the recent trends for both of these offenses, and I’m taking the Panthers to cover ATS.
My predictions: Packers win 30-24, Panthers cover, over 51.5 points
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Daily Fantasy Picks
In what I’m projecting as one of the highest-scoring games of the week, there should be plenty of DFS value on both sides. Aaron Rodgers has scored 20+ fantasy points in eight straight games, and that type of consistency can’t be overvalued in DFS, especially in cash lineups. He’ll come in at a higher price, but the Panthers have allowed the 12th-most fantasy points per game to quarterbacks, so Rodgers is a solid pick. So to is Aaron Jones, as the Panthers have allowed the 9th-most fantasy points per game to running backs. His workload has been inconsistent, so Jones is more of a GPP target, but his upside is as high as any running back this week. With the tear that Aaron Rodgers is on, Davante Adams and Robert Tonyan can both be great DFS plays this week. On the other side of the ball, the Packers have been most susceptible to the run game, where they’re allowing the 4th-most fantasy points per game to running backs. That makes Mike Davis an intriguing mid-tier option at RB. Teddy Bridgewater could be in for a solid game as well, with the high over/under, and one of the wide receivers should produce a great line. It’s unclear if Robby Anderson or D.J. Moore will spend more time against Jaire Alexander, but the Packers’ cornerbacks outside of Alexander have been very beatable.