Washington Football Team vs Carolina Panthers Matchup Preview (12/27/2020): Betting Odds, Depth Charts, Live Stream (Watch Online)

Watch as the 6-8 Washington Football Team defends their NFC East lead, hosting the eliminated 4-10 Carolina Panthers. With two games to play, Washington is just a game ahead of both the Cowboys and Giants at 5-9. Meanwhile, Carolina has been eliminated from playoff contention and looks to build confidence as they enter their offseason. For odds movement and full matchup history, visit the Washington Football Team vs Carolina Panthers Matchup Page.

TV Schedule

Date: Sunday, December 27th, 2020
Time: 12:00 PM CT
Location: FedExField, Landover, Maryland
TV Coverage: CBS

Football Team vs Panthers Live Stream

Where can you watch Football Team vs. Panthers online? You can stream this game, and many other NFL games live online with Hulu. Hulu has a 7 Day free trial and is cheaper than cable options at $5.99/month. Watch Football Team vs. Panthers Free Online Now.
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Injuries

Washington Football Team: Available Wednesday

Carolina Panthers: Available Wednesday

Washington Football Team

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It hasn’t been pretty, but Washington is in a position to win their division. It started with the offseason acquisitions through the draft and free agency, in addition to the coaching overhaul that brought in Ron Rivera at the head coaching position and Jack Del Rio as the defensive coordinator position. After a 1-3 start with Dwayne Haskins at quarterback, Rivera made the switch the Kyle Allen. The Football Team then lost two more and sat at 1-5 through week six. They won in week seven but lost coming off their bye in week nine. With a 2-6 record, an injury to Kyle Allen led to Alex Smith getting the nod as the Football Team’s starting quarterback. While he was not spectacular by any means, the Football Team won four of their next five games and brought their overall record to 6-7 before losing to Seattle and falling to 6-8 this past weekend with Dwayne Haskins back at quarterback after an Alex Smith injury. Now, with Smith’s status uncertain down the stretch, the Football Team has found themselves all in leading the NFC East with just two games to play.

Offensively, Washington has been all over the place. It starts with the quarterback position, or more appropriately, the quarterbacks. Washington started the year with Dwayne Haskins, moved to Kyle Allen, then to Alex Smith, and now most recently played Dwayne Haskins again with an Alex Smith injury. It should be noted that according to Ron Rivera, Alex Smith is the starting quarterback when healthy. As a trio, they have completed approximately 65-percent of their passes for 3042 yards, 13 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions. Their leading wide receiver, Terry McLaurin, has emerged as one of the league’s most talented receivers. His 126 targets have led to 80 receptions for 1078 yards and three touchdowns. This is much needed, as their next two leaders in targets are running back J.D. McKissic and quarterback-converted-to-tight-end Logan Thomas with 92 and 91 targets, respectively. Another emerging player is rookie running back Antonio Gibson, who has 659 rushing yards and 11 rushing touchdowns on 141 carries in addition to his 32 catches for 233 yards. Unfortunately, Washington will likely be without Gibson for the third straight game as he has been dealing with a toe injury.

Washington’s defense has been turning heads in 2020, emerging as one of the league’s strongest units. On the season, only four teams are allowing fewer points per game than Washington is at 21.1. The free-agent acquisitions and draft pick given to defensive-minded head coach Ron Rivera and defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio have come together nicely. First, it was the signing of Kendall Fuller and Ronald Darby via free agency, solidifying the cornerback group. Then drafting Chase Young’s second overall bolster, the emerging, talented front seven of Washington helped take this defensive unit to the next level. On the season, Washington’s 2.9 sacks per game are top-10 in the NFL, and their pressure percentage of 24.7-percent is also top-10. One of the keys to Washington’s success is their ability to get off the field on third down, particularly in scoring range. Their opponent’s 37.4 third-down conversion percentage is the eighth-lowest in the league, and their opponent’s red zone conversion percentage of 51.4 is the second-lowest in the league. If Washington wants to hold on to their division lead, it’ll likely be on the backs of their strong defensive unit.

Washington Football Team Depth Chart

QB: Dwayne Haskins
RB1: J.D. McKissic
RB2: Peyton Barber
WR1: Terry McLaurin
WR2: Cam Sims
WR3: Isaiah Wright
TE: Logan Thomas

Carolina Panthers

Carolina Panthers

At 4-10, Carolina was mathematically eliminated this past weekend and will now finish out their remaining two games of the season with only their pride to play for. It wasn’t an entirely unsuccessful season for first-year head coach Matt Rhule. Carolina began the season 3-2, turning some heads as a potential wild card team in the NFC. However, a five-game losing streak between weeks six and 10 dropped their record to 3-7 and put them on the outside looking in. Overall, since starting 3-2, Carolina lost eight of their next nine games, with their only win coming in a 20-0 shutout of the Detroit Lions in week 11. Upon a closer look, however, you’ll notice that seven of those eight losses were by one score or less, making it more apparent that Carolina has been competitive in 2020 but just hasn’t been able to close out games.

Offensively, Carolina is closer to average than anything. Lately, they haven’t been as sharp as they looked earlier in the season. They have eclipsed 30 points only three times in 2020 and not since week nine against Kansas City. In their last four games (two of which were against Detroit and Minnesota’s beatable defenses), Carolina managed to score more than two touchdowns just once, in week 14 against Denver. At the helm is Teddy Bridgwater, who hasn’t necessarily earned many new believers in 2020 as Carolina’s new starting quarterback. On the season, Bridgwater has completed just shy of 70-percent of his passes for 3360 yards, 14 touchdowns, and eight interceptions. His receiving trio has emerged as a solid group throughout the season. Robby Anderson, D.J. Moore, and Curtis Samuel have accounted for 64-percent of the target share. Combined, they have hauled in 206 receptions for 2699 yards and nine touchdowns. Both Anderson and Moore have eclipsed the 1000-yard mark on the season. One excuse for the offense might be the lack of Christian McCaffrey. After touching the ball over 400 times in 2019, McCaffrey has played in just three games in 2020 and has not played since week nine. In his absence, however, Mike Davis has put together a solid season. He has 614 rushing yards and five touchdowns on the ground on 151 carries, in addition to his 59 catches for 373 yards and two touchdowns through the air.

Similar to the offense, the defense has been rather pedestrian. Overall, they are giving up an average of 25.4 points per game, just a smidge over the league average of 24.8. Both their rushing yards allowed of 119.4 yards per game and passing yards allowed of 239.7 yards per game are also right around league average. Looking ahead to next season, the defense will aim to simply be more consistent. They’ve had some success to build off of, but it has not been enough to generate very many wins on its own. Additionally, there are younger players to build around and get excited about, as both rookies Derrick Brown and Jeremy Chinn have shown flashes of brilliance in 2020 and have had their name thrown around in defensive rookie of the year conversations. Whether it is Alex Smith or Dwayne Haskins at quarterback, the Football Team’s offense is not striking fear into the hearts of opposing defenses. This should be a good test for a Carolina defense that can be called mediocre at best.

Carolina Panthers Depth Chart

QB: Teddy Bridgewater
RB1: Mike Davis
RB2: Rodney Smith
WR1: D.J. Moore
WR2: Robby Anderson
WR3: Curtis Samuel
TE: Ian Thomas

Betting Corner Washington -1.5

Spread: Washington -1.5
Moneyline: Washington -124, Carolina +106
Over/Under: Not available (uncertainty over Washington starting QB)

Washington opens as slim home favorites over the Carolina Panthers, despite the lack of clarity surrounding who will be starting at quarterback for the Football Team. According to head coach Ron Rivera, if he’s healthy, it’ll be Alex Smith. Additionally, with the division on the line for Washington and the Panthers eliminated, it’s possible injured Washington players are more eager to play, whereas Carolina might play it safe with some of their injuries. Lastly, the weather currently does not project to be a factor. Still, the major betting hubs seem keen on waiting until they know who is playing at quarterback for Washington before posting an over/under (and in some cases, the spread and moneylines have not been posted either). Keep an eye out for the Washington quarterback news, and come back here for the updated betting information.

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Daily Fantasy Picks

J.D. McKissic

Without Antonio Gibson, J.D. McKissic appears to be locked and loaded as the lead-back for the Football Team. Despite still seeing a solid snap percentage with Antonio Gibson active, McKissic’s snap-count percentages boomed over the last two weeks at 65 and 85-percent. The 85-percent snap count game being the most recent one against Seattle, McKissic touched the ball 22 times and for a combined 107 yards and one touchdown through the air, leading to a point total of 25.7 points on DraftKings. His work in the passing game has made him extremely valuable in fantasy in 2020, having scored at least 17 points in four of the last seven games. His 92 targets on the season give him a per-game average of 6.57 targets. All of this has come at an average price of $4550. This week, he’s slightly more expensive at $6400, but still extremely affordable for a running back with his upside in a great matchup. Carolina is DraftKings’ 29th-ranked opponent against fantasy running backs. The only question here is whether or not Antonio Gibson plays and whether or not he gets a full workload. If Gibson is 100-percent, I would quickly pivot to him, as he’s only priced at $6600. If he’s out, McKissic is a great play.

Logan Thomas

The Logan Thomas truthers may finally have their saving grace. Over the last four weeks, Thomas has averaged 18.65 points on DraftKings, eclipsing 20 points twice. Over that stretch, he’s averaged 8.75 targets, a number that is unheard of for tight ends not named Travis Kelce. Most recently, his 15 targets on Sunday led to 13 receptions for 101 yards. On the season, only McLaurin and McKissic have received more targets than Thomas in Washington, and the trust in him on the offense seemingly only continues to grow. All things considered, the most enticing reason to play Thomas this week is the matchup. Carolina is DraftKing’s 25th-ranked team against opposing tight ends. For reference, Mark Andrews at $5700 plays the Giants, the 13th-ranked team against tight ends. Noah Fant, just $100 less than Thomas, plays the 20th-ranked team against tight ends and has not had the consistent target share that Thomas has had.

Terry McLaurin

McLaurin has lost some supporters in recent weeks, having finished with less than five fantasy points in both weeks 13 and 14 before coming back up to 14.7 points this past weekend against Seattle. Regardless, McLaurin has received at least six targets in every game this season and is averaging nine per game. Usually, with that kind of volume, you must pay more than $6700 on DraftKings. However, that’s how much McLaurin costs you this week against a decent matchup in Carolina. Currently, Carolina is DraftKings’ 17th-ranked team against opposing wide receivers. Regardless of the quarterback, it appears as if the weeks 13 and 14 duds were more of an exception than the norm, as McLaurin has eclipsed 10 fantasy points in all but one other game this season. McLaurin’s recent weeks might have many supporters shying away, making him a lower-owned player this week.

Washington DST
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Over Carolina’s last four games, the Packers, Broncos, Vikings, and Lions DST units averaged 6.75 points against the Panthers. Imagining what an above-average defensive unit might do against this peddling Panthers offense makes me want to play Washington’s DST. Most recently, Teddy Bridgwater was sacked four times against Denver and three times against Green Bay. On the season, Washington is just slightly better than both of these two teams sacking the quarterback, making it a good bet that they’ll get to Teddy a few times. Meanwhile, Washington has managed at least 12 points on defense in three of the past five weeks. In addition, if you put any value in the intangibles, Washington is fighting for their division, and Carolina was eliminated from playoff contention, giving Washington much more to play for. All of this for a relatively cheap $3000, compared to the $4000 you’d be paying for the week’s most expensive options.

Zach Boeder is a high school math teacher that has a passion for sports and data journalism. Zach received a Bachelor's Degree in Mathematics and a Master's Degree in Education from the University of Arizona. He currently teaches in Saint Paul and Lives in Minneapolis with his partner Sarah, their dog Dozier, and cat Remy. Zach plans to argue for a very long time that "2020 would have been the Twins' year if baseball hadn't been shut down."

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