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Reply To: NFL Week 9 • Previews, Articles, Info. Sunday 11/8/15

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Preview: Green Bay at Carolina

When: 1:00 PM ET, Sunday, November 8, 2015

Where: Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, North Carolina

Home-field advantage in the playoffs could be on the line when the unbeaten Carolina Panthers host the Green Bay Packers on Sunday in a matchup of NFC frontrunners. Carolina looks to continue the best start in franchise history and maintain the inside track for the top seed in the NFC playoffs, while Green Bay hopes to bounce back from an ugly 29-10 loss at Denver last week.

The Panthers will have the disrespect card at their disposal, as they’re underdogs at home despite being one of four remaining undefeated teams in the league – and the only one in the NFC. “We’ve done the things we need to do to give ourselves a chance to win football games, but at some point we need to be smart and be careful,” Carolina coach Ron Rivera told the team’s website. “I’d like to see us play a very consistent game, to play to our abilities.” It’s the second straight battle of unbeatens for the Packers, who suffered their first defeat against the Broncos while gaining only 140 total yards – their lowest total in two years. Green Bay has won two straight meetings and three of the last four, including a 38-17 victory at home last season.

TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX.

LINE: Packers -2.5. O/U: 46.5

ABOUT THE PACKERS (6-1): Green Bay’s offensive struggles came to a head last week, when they managed only 50 yards through the air and 90 on the ground. Once one of the most prolific passing attacks in the league, the Packers have topped 300 yards in the air only once this season – though Aaron Rodgers has been efficient, completing 67.6 percent of his passes with 15 touchdowns against two interceptions. Green Bay’s defense was gashed both on the ground and through the air last week, and its 25th-ranked rush defense will have its hands full against Carolina’s top-ranked ground attack.

ABOUT THE PANTHERS (7-0): Carolina has found itself in plenty of close games, winning six of its seven contests by 11 points or fewer. The Panthers overcame three turnovers in last week’s 29-26 overtime win over Indianapolis – their second straight game with three giveaways – and have coughed it up eight times in their last three contests. The defense has done its part to overcome those mistakes, ranking third in the NFL with 16 takeaways – including a league-high 12 interceptions.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Green Bay LB Julius Peppers has recorded at least 1.5 sacks in each of his last two games against his former team.

2. Panthers QB Cam Newton has an NFL-record 28 games with at least one rushing touchdown and one passing score, including four this season.

3. Carolina CB Charles Tillman has forced a fumble in four straight meetings with Green Bay.

PREDICTION: Packers 23, Panthers 21