The Redskins (7-5-1) will host the Panthers (5–8) as six-point betting favorites at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com in the Week 15 Monday night game.
Washington cornerback Josh Norman may not be having the same season he enjoyed a year ago in Carolina when he had four interceptions and returned two for touchdowns en route to his team earning the best record in the NFL. However, the Panthers are definitely worse without him patrolling the secondary, and their record reflects that.
Carolina quarterback Cam Newton has not been the same player either, throwing 20 fewer touchdown passes and running for half as many scores and yards than when he won NFL MVP honors last season. While there are still three games left to improve upon this year’s numbers, the Panthers have nothing to play for except to finish at .500.
The Redskins have won five of the past six home meetings with Carolina, and they have also gone 8–2 against the spread on the NFL betting lines in their last 10 games versus teams with losing records. However, the Panthers are no ordinary sub-.500 team either as the defending NFC champions, and they will be out to prove that trading Norman to Washington was the right move for them as well.
It is hard to argue that point though considering Carolina ranks 30th in pass defense this year compared to 11th last season. The Panthers had the sixth-best defense overall in 2015 in terms of yardage, allowing just 322.9 yards per game. They are 23rd in 2016, giving up an average of 362.5.
Leading tackler Luke Kuechly has not played since Week 11 due to a concussion. Kuechly, the 2013 NFL Defensive Player of the Year and a three-time All-Pro, practiced on Wednesday, and his return would be a big boost to a struggling unit.