NFL Week 12 Upset Warning: Sam Darnold and Panthers Can Defeat Broncos

The Carolina Panthers have decided to start Sam Darnold for Sunday’s game against the Broncos. Will Darnold help lead the Panthers to an upset win at home?

Denver Broncos vs. Carolina Panthers

Sunday, November 27, 2022 – 01:00 PM EST at Bank of America Stadium

What You Should Know

The Carolina Panthers will welcome the Denver Broncos to Bank of America Stadium for a matchup between two teams who won’t make the playoffs.

The Panthers have decided to roll the dice with Sam Darnold at quarterback. With Darnold starting, the Panthers will be on their third quarterback of the season. Many people in the organization said behind closed doors that they’d love to see Sam Darnold get another chance. Well, he’s got it.

He’ll start over Baker Mayfield after Mayfield helped the Panthers to just three points against the Ravens last week in a 13-3 loss.

Meanwhile, the Broncos haven’t changed their quarterback this season. They’re paying Russell Wilson an extreme amount of money to be terrible for the Broncos. They’re going to be strapped using Wilson for the near future.

The Panthers are at home and probably have the better offense heading into this game. Yet, they’re underdogs at the NFL odds. So here’s your warning.

Can Sam Darnold Do Enough to Win?

The Panthers will start Sam Darnold on Sunday. We don’t have stats to back anything up. We haven’t seen Darnold this year. He was injured early on in the season and is now getting his chance, but the offense can only get better from here.

Baker Mayfield scored three points last week with the Panthers after the Carolina defense put up an incredible performance against the Ravens. It’s not the best time to give Darnold his first start. He’ll take on a Denver defense with one of the best secondaries in football. The pass rush is also very effective.

Denver has allowed 322.9 yards per game, with only 207.6 yards in the air. Don’t expect Darnold to have an incredible game. He doesn’t have Christian McCaffrey by his side anymore and needs to regain the trust of those wide receivers like D.J. Moore.

But if we’re being honest, the Panthers still have plenty of talent offensively. Darnold and the Panthers don’t need to score points at an insane rate. They just need to score around 20 points. That would be enough. The Panthers can do that.

Denver’s Struggling Offensively

The Broncos have won one of their last five games. They’ve scored no more than 21 points in any game. If they had scored just 18 points per game this season, the Broncos would be one of the best teams in the NFL.

But the offense hasn’t done much. Russell Wilson has played in most games for the Broncos this season. He’s thrown just seven touchdowns and five interceptions.

The Broncos even cut Melvin Gordon III last week after losing to the Raiders. So that’s how things are going in Denver. If you thought Carolina was looking bad, Denver has looked much worse.

Plus, the Carolina defense has started to improve recently. They held Baltimore to 13 points and Atlanta to just 15. They even kept the Buccaneers to three points earlier this season.

Both offenses have been the problem this year. But with Darnold under center, the Panthers look like the better offense heading into this game.

Prediction and Pick

The line is moving in favor of the Panthers at the best sportsbooks. They were heavier favorites a couple of days ago. Now the Panthers are sitting at +108 at home against the Broncos. They’re still underdogs so this article is still valid.

The Panthers need to figure out their future at quarterback. Could Sam Darnold be the guy to lead the Panthers? He probably can. The offense won’t dominate against the Broncos. No offense has, but if the Panthers can ultimately score two touchdowns and a field goal, there’s a good chance they’ll win the game. And that’s not much to ask for out of the Panthers’ offense.

The pass protection has been good for the Panthers this year. If Darnold has enough time in the pocket, he’ll make better reads than Walker or Mayfield have. The run game has also done well for the Panthers, even without McCaffrey. D’Onta Foreman has had some big games once McCaffrey left.

Plus, the wide receiver core is talented. It starts with D.J. Moore, who has been inconsistent with his production, but Darnold and Moore have a solid connection dating back to last season. That should change some things and maybe even be worthy of an NFL player prop.

Let’s back the Panthers to earn a home win against the Denver Broncos.

NFL Pick: Panthers (+108) at FanDuel is your sports betting command center. Read featured betting strategy compiled from a panel of leading sports betting experts.

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