Indianapolis Colts (3-4) at Carolina Panthers (6-0)
Andrew Luck hasn’t looked right this season. His recent shoulder injury hasn’t helped, but he wasn’t playing well before that either, as he’s graded out as Pro Football Focus’ worst ranked quarterback, only ahead of Matt Stafford, on the season. It might be in the Colts’ best interest to rest him for a few weeks and go back to starting Matt Hasselbeck, who played decently in two spots starts in Luck’s absence earlier this year. He currently ranks as Pro Football Focus’ 13th ranked quarterback and the Colts moved the chains at a 73.85% rate in his two starts, as opposed to 69.57% in Luck’s five starts. Their defense has been solid, but that hasn’t been enough offensively, as they rank 18th in rate of moving the chains differential on the season, much worse than they have been in recent years.
It’s also possible that Hasselbeck’s success in his two starts has to do with the fact that he played 2 divisional opponents. The Colts play in arguably the worst division in football and, while they’ve gone 15-0 in the division since 2013, they are just 12-16 outside of the division over that time period and just 0-4 this season, as they’ve underachieved. That’s going to make it hard for them to keep it close in Carolina, against a Panthers team that ranks 5th in rate of moving the chains differential. It’s not enough for me to be confident in them, especially with the public all over them, but the Panthers should be the right side.
Carolina Panthers 27 Indianapolis Colts 17
Pick against the spread: Carolina -7