Week 16: 2019 NFL Season (100th NFL Season)
Sunday, Dec 22. 2019, @ 1:00 p.m. ET on FOX (Lucas Oil Stadium)
Moneyline: Panthers +255, Colts -310
Over/Under: 47; Colts -6.5 (-310)
The Carolina Panthers will head on the road to Lucas Stadium to take on the Indianapolis Colts. Both teams are out of playoff contention and will playing for pride for the rest of the regular season. This will be the first meeting between the Panthers and Colts since the 2015 season, when the Panthers beat the Colts in OT 29-26.
Will Grier Makes His First Start
Former West Virginia Mountaineer and NFL rookie Will Grier will make his debut in Week 16’s matchup. While this doesn’t necessarily hint at the rookie being the future QB, it gives Grier as chance to make a good impression on the big stage for his hometown team.
Running back Christian McCaffrey remains the orchestrator of Carolina’s offense. He has now racked up 1,307 rushing yards and 14 rush touchdowns in this season. In Week 15’s loss against the Seattle Seahawks, McCaffrey lead the Panthers scoreboard with 88 rushing yards and 2 TD’s along with eight catches and 88 receiving yards.
Grier has been getting starter reps in practice since Week 3, so he has been well developed and prepared for the moment to provide a little spark into the Panthers underwhelming season. Grier will have to play a good game with accurate passing and limited turnovers in order to grab a road win against the Colts whom who have a top 20 defense in the league.
Colts Look To Avoid Five Game Losing Streak
At one point in the season, the Indianapolis Colts were set to become playoff contenders with a 6-4 record. However, they have loss their last four games, one being a 34-7 road loss against the New Orleans Saints. Therefore, the Colts are eliminated from playoff contention, which leaves room to wonder how the Colts will close out the remainder of the season.
The key for the Colts to win in Week 16 is running the ball on the ground. Going up against a low-ranked Panthers rush defense should give RB Marlon Mack a chance to produce a +100 yard rushing game. T.Y. Hilton will be looking a chance at redemption reigning the injury, as well as QB Jacoby Brissett, which failed to throw a single TD pass against the Saints in Week 15.
Although the Colts has not been stellar these last few weeks, going against a poor rushing defense opens up the opportunity to run the football well. While Grier can give Carolina some spark to close out the season, I would take Indianapolis at home.