NFL Week 6 Preview and Odds – Carolina Panthers at Cincinnati Bengals

Coming off a disappointing blowout loss last Sunday night against the New England Patriots, the Cincinnati Bengals can redeem themselves today against the NFC South leading Carolina Panthers (1 p.m. Eastern on FOX).

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Coming off a disappointing blowout loss last Sunday night against the New England Patriots, the Cincinnati Bengals can redeem themselves today against the NFC South leading Carolina Panthers (1 p.m. Eastern on FOX).

The Bengals will likely be without receiver A.J. Green, however.  Green is among the league’s best pass catchers, and his absence will enable teams to pack the box against Cincinnati’s ground game.

The other concern for Cincinnati will be how its normally stingy defense responds after the Patriots torched them for 43 points.

“Anytime you get 43 points on you, that really hurts you,” defensive tackle Domata Peko said.  “Believe me; we’re going to fix it.  That’s the thing we take pride in around here.”

The Panthers, meanwhile, are fresh off a satisfying home victory over the Chicago Bears.  Star quarterback Cam Newton has played well so far this season. After sitting out week 1 with a rib injury, Newton has passed for almost 1,000 yards in his first four games, along with five touchdowns. Equally as important, Newton has only turned the ball over twice.

However, Carolina’s run-game is a huge question mark at this point, particularly with running backs DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart did not practice on Wednesday. Making matters worse, last week’s starting running back, Darrin Reaves, was also absent from practice with a hip injury.

The shortcomings on the ground have been largely offset by the emergence of rookie receiver Kelvin Benjamin and the stability provided by tight end Greg Olsen.  “He’s so consistent,” Newton said of Olsen.

Benjamin is giving opposing defenses fits.  He has 367 yards receiving and three touchdowns on the season.  Moreover, he provides Newton with a deep threat to stretch the field and is quickly becoming the Panthers’ version of A.J. Green.

The Bengals are currently a seven point favorite.  The over/under stands at 41.