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The Carolina Panthers and Arizona Cardinals squared off in the NFC Championship Game last season, but both teams are struggling to make the playoffs as we reach the halfway point this season. They’ll try to get back on track when they meet in Carolina on Sunday.


Panthers, Cardinals Searching for Momentum

If they’re hoping to return to the postseason, the Panthers and Cardinals need to start winning. The Panthers are 1-5 SU and ATS and have a long way to go. They need to improve all over; they’re 15th in offensive efficiency, 26th in defensive efficiency and 23rd in special teams efficiency.

As for the Cardinals, they look like they’re moving in the right direction with a 2-0-1 record in their last three games. However, three of their next four games are on the road, including two matchups against NFC division leaders (the Atlanta Falcons and Minnesota Vikings). The Cards are 3-point underdogs for their game in Carolina on Sunday.


Cowboys, Eagles Vie for First Place

The Dallas Cowboys return from their bye week to host the Philadelphia Eagles in a battle for first place in the NFC East. Both teams are led by rookie quarterbacks who could be headlining this rivalry for many years to come.

The Cowboys have won five straight games, but this will be the toughest defense they’ve faced yet. The Eagles’ defense ranks second in the NFL in yards allowed per game (307.0) and third in points (14.7). The Cowboys’ all-rookie backfield has faced only one defense inside the Top 10 of points per game allowed, and that happened to be their only loss of the season (Week 1 to the New York Giants). The Cowboys are a 4.5-point favourite over the Eagles.


Revenge for the Patriots?

The Patriots have a 6-1 record SU and ATS, and their lone loss comes from their Week 4 home shutout to the Buffalo Bills. That was the final game of Tom Brady’s suspension and it resulted in the Patriots being blanked at Gillette Stadium for the first time ever.

This Sunday, the Bills and Pats have a rematch. The Patriots come into the contest on a three-game winning streak, averaging a healthy 31.7 points per game since Brady returned to the lineup. As for the Bills, they’re battered and bruised. Star wideout Sammy Watkins is out with a foot injury, and defensive tackle Marcel Dareus and running back LeSean McCoy are questionable.


Important Injuries

LeSean McCoy (BUF): The Bills’ workhorse running back entered last week’s game in Miami with a bad hamstring and left after aggravating it. He’s questionable for Sunday’s showdown with the New England Patriots.

Tevin Coleman (ATL): The Falcons have boasted one of the most productive backfields this season, with running backs Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman accounting for 41% of the total yards by the league’s No. 1 offense. Coleman suffered a hamstring injury last week and seems unlikely to play on Sunday.

Lamar Miller (HOU): Miller injured his shoulder against the Denver Broncos on Monday Night Football. The Texans’ questionable running backs are a concern because of the team’s struggles to move the ball through the air.


*Odds as of October 26, 2016