Cowboys moving on without Bryant, Witten
The Cowboys enter the 2018 season without two of their biggest stars of the past decade:WR Dez Bryant and TE Jason Witten. Witten and Bryant had been mainstays on the Cowboys receiving corps for the past eight season, but Witten has since retired and Bryant is still without a team after a tumultuous offseason.
Instead, the Cowboys head into the year with free agent acquisition Allen Hurns as the team’s top wideout. He’s expected to start alongside rookie third-round pick Michael Gallup with Cole Beasley working the slot and former seventh-round pick Geoff Swaim is slated to replace Witten at the tight end spot. Dallas was also dealt a major blow in the preseason when Pro Bowl center Travis Frederick was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease and is expected to miss several weeks while he undergoes treatment.
Turner transforming Panthers offense
The Panthers went 3-1 during the preseason with their only loss coming in their preseason finale against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Cam Newton opened some eyes during exhibition play, displaying some newfound efficiency in new offensive coordinator Norv Turner’s revamped offense. Newton will be joined by second-year running back Christian McCaffrey and veteran CJ Anderson in the backfield, while also welcoming back safety blanket Greg Olsen, who figures to be a major part of the offense with WR Kelvin Benjamin gone. Devin Funchess, Curtis Samuel, DJ Moore, and veteran Torrey Smith will round out the receivers on the outside, giving Newton plenty of playmakers to help move the ball in 2018. Perhaps the biggest news of the preseason for the Panthers was the health of their offensive line, which was decimated by injuries. The team just put starting left tackle Matt Khalil on injured reserve, which means he will miss at least the first eight games of the season. Right tackle Daryl Williams and guard Amini Silatolu both recently returned to practice and mauler Taylor Mouton is expected to take Khalil’s spot with the responsibility of protecting Newton’s blindside.
Carolina got better on the defensive side of the ball with the addition of defensive tackle Dontari Poe. Linebacker Thomas Davis out suspended for the first four weeks, but rookie linebackers Jermaine Carter and Andre Smith should be ready to step into significant roles and contribute immediately.
- Panthers are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 home games.
- Panthers are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games on grass.
- Panthers are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games overall.
- Under is 4-0 in Cowboys last 4 games overall.
- Under is 5-1 in Cowboys last 6 vs. NFC