Who: Carolina Panthers (3-2) at Cincinnati Bengals (3-1)
Where: Paul Brown Stadium
When: Sunday, Oct. 12, 1 p.m. ET
Radio: Panthers Radio Network listings | Bengals Radio Network listings
Online Stream: Verizon NFL Mobile, NFL Sunday Ticket
The Bengals are seven-point favorites at home, according to OddsShark. The over/under for the game is 43.5 points.
Most experts are picking the Bengals to hold serve at home, including all seven here at SB Nation, six of the eight at CBS Sports and all three at Yahoo! Sports.
Eliot Harrison of NFL.com picked the Bengals, and he also offered this brief breakdown:
How will the Bengals respond to the trouncing they took against the Patriots? My guess is, they win, despite the fact that the Panthers should present a far greater challenge in Cincinnati this Sunday than they did in their loss in Baltimore two weeks back. Two alarming facts for Carolina: a) its red-zone defense is the worst in football and b) its run game is ranked 30th. Without the ability to burn clock on the ground, the Panthers will have a tough time keeping their defenders' legs from getting tired and failing at the end of drives. If you're wondering whether the Bengals' D will give up major points again, bear in mind this team hasn't allowed 30-plus points in back-to-back games since 2008. Cincy wins.
Don Banks of SI also has the Bengals winning easily, 23-10.
If Cincinnati’s stated goal is to do to Carolina what the Patriots did to the Bengals, after New England got embarrassed on the road in a prime time game in K.C., well, then that’s not good news coming for the Panthers, now is it? Even though we were all trying to bestow it upon them, the Bengals seemed anything but ready to wear the mantle of the NFL elite in Foxboro, looking more like the club that has faded quickly in the playoff spotlight the past three Januarys. Cincinnati can’t afford to suffer any hangover effect against Cam Newton and Co., because with a trip to Indianapolis and the Bengals' home-field rematch against Baltimore looming in Weeks 7 and 8, this one needs to be safely tucked into the win column.
Bill Barnwell of Grantland picked the Bengals as well, noting how Cincinnati has to get pressure on opposing QBs in order to win.
This is a deeper, more versatile Bengals team than that one, though, and they’re likely to be in a foul mood after getting embarrassed by the Patriots on national television. The Panthers have the league’s 27th-ranked defense per DVOA. According to ESPN Stats & Information, the Panthers have the fourth-best opposing QBR in the league (1.3) when they get pressure on the opposing passer, but their defense falls all the way to 22nd in QBR (88.5) when the quarterback isn’t bothered.
The Bengals haven't lost in the friendly confines of PBS since December of 2012. They'll try to defend their turf and rebound from their first loss of the season last week against the New England Patriots.
Was last week an aberration, or a sign of things to come for Cincinnati? The Bengals need to rebound this week to keep pace with the 3-2 Steelers and 3-2 Ravens in the AFC North.
On the other side, the Panthers looked dead in the water just two weeks ago, losing consecutive games to the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens by a combined 75-29 margin.
Carolina was able to rebound last week with a comeback-win over the Chicago Bears, and is now back on top in the NFC South. The Panthers won the division last year, despite a 1-3 start. Carolina needs this win to stay on top in the NFC South ahead of the 2-3 Atlanta Falcons and 2-3 New Orleans Saints.
Bengals: Cincy Jungle. Panthers: Cat Scratch Reader