The Dallas Cowboys will visit the Carolina Panthers on Sunday (11/19/23) for a cross-divisional NFC matchup. Get Cowboys vs. Panthers odds, picks and predictions below. Our best bet is under 14.5 for the Panthers Team Total.
Dallas Cowboys vs. Carolina Panthers Prediction
This Panthers season is, to put a positive spin on things, incredibly unique. Carolina presumably believes that they have their franchise quarterback of the future, as Bryce Young followed in the footsteps of Cam Newton by being a first overall pick for the Panthers in the 2023 NFL Draft. They also don’t own their first-round pick in 2024, as they sent it to the Chicago Bears as part of the trade they executed to secure Young. Yet Carolina looks every bit of a tanking team. The Pantherds were the last winless squad in the NFL, and now they’re the final team with just one win.
Young hasn’t exactly helped matters. While new quarterbacks in the NFL are expected to go through some growing pains, he’s had some comically bad performances. These are unfortunately juxtaposed with downright historic levels of greatness from No. 2 pick C.J. Stroud. That just serves to make Carolina’s decision to not just take Young, but to trade up to do so, look even worse. To try and rectify the offensive issues, Panthers coach Frank Reich is reclaiming play calling duties, which he relinquished earlier this year. But it’s hard to know how this would help.
If there’s a positive for Carolina, it’s that their defense is about to be as healthy as it’s been at any point this season. That is really saying something because that side of the ball has been a serious bright spot. Defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero has done wonders with the pass defense, which ranks just about average by EPA and DVOA. They could definitely slow down a Cowboys team that will likely be holding back and trying to get through the week on cruise control ahead of a short week of rest leading into a divisional rivalry game on Thanksgiving.
For that reason, we’re going to avoid playing the massive spread. Dallas could coast without covering, but they could also flip a switch if need be and pull away. What we do know is that the Panthers are simply not going to be able to move the ball on a defense that ranks fourth in the league in DVOA, compared to their own offense, which ranks 31st. Given the variability on the Dallas side of things, we’re not going to play the full-game total. Instead, let’s invest in that Cowboys defense, which should be able to completely stifle the anemic Panthers offense, even if they’re not playing at a full 110%.
Dallas Cowboys vs. Carolina Panthers Prediction: Panthers Team Total u14.5 (-110)
Dallas Cowboys vs. Carolina Panthers Best Odds
The Cowboys are -10.5 favorites on the road, and their moneyline is a heavily juiced -550. For the Panthers, it’s a +400 line to win, and both sides of the total of 42 are -110.
Dallas Cowboys vs. Carolina Panthers Key Injuries
Panthers tight end Hayden Hurst has entered concussion protocol, while all 53 players on the Cowboys’ roster are listed as full participants at practice this week.
Dallas Cowboys vs. Carolina Panthers Key Matchups
The Panthers will look to run the ball to gain some ball control at home, while the Cowboys will likely use this game to iron out some issues with their own rushing attack. Let’s see who will get the rock moving on the ground.
Panthers Ground Game vs. Cowboys Run Defense
The Carolina rushing offense isn’t necessarily a “strength” so to speak, but it’s definitely a stronger unit than their air attack with Young at the helm (31st in the league in DVOA). Chuba Hubbard is the team’s leading rusher and he’s had some nice games, but is still averaging below 4 yards per carry in what amounts to a lukewarm performance. He’s scored just once, as has Miles Sanders, giving Carolina a grand total of two rushing touchdowns on the year. Taylor Moton has been solid at tackle, but the rest of the Panthers O-line has been a real issue in the run game.
They’re going up against a Dallas run defense that ranks 31st in success rate, but eighth in DVOA and 11th in EPA. Clearly, while it’s possible to pick up decent yardage, this unit is great at snuffing out the big play, so the Panthers will have to stay patient and methodical. DeMarcus Lawrence has been phenomenal in run defense this season. But key players in the middle like Leighton Vander Esch have had an off-year, as has star edge rusher Micah Parsons when it comes to run defense. So there could be opportunities for the Panthers in that portion of the field.
Cowboys Ground Game vs. Panthers Run Defense
The Dallas run game looks fine on the surface, but that is due in large part to the fact that they’ve played the league’s easiest schedule to this point. The Cowboys rank 21st in rushing offense DVOA. Tony Pollard has totally failed to build on a breakout 2022, as he’s racked up just three big runs and two touchdowns while averaging below 4 yards per carry. This despite running behind a Dallas line that ranks 10th in PFF’s run blocking grades and eighth in adjusted line yards.
The good news for the Cowboys is that the Panthers’ run defense is a disaster. They rank 31st in DVOA, and dead last in EPA, success rate and adjusted line yards. Linebacker Frankie Luvu is the only Panther in the front seven with a PFF run defense grade over 70, as they’re giving up over 130 rushing yards per game at a rate of 4.3 per carry. This is a great opportunity for the Dallas run game to get right and help the team coast to a comfortable win.