Panthers are 3-0 after a Thursday night football victory over the Houston Texans

Cowboys are 2-1-0 after they galloped over the Philledalphi Eagles on Monday night football

The first matchup between the two since Week 1 of 2018 when the Panthers topped the Cowboys

This game will feature two teams trending upwards in the early part of the season. On one side, you will see a revitalized panthers squad led by offseason acquisition Sam Darnold and sophomore head coach Matt Rhule.

And for the Cowboys, they have been led by outstanding performances from both Dak Prescott and his committee of wide receivers. Come Sunday. It will be the top defense in the Panthers taking on an Elite offense from Dak and the Cowboys.

Panthers vs Cowboys Matchup at a Glance

  • Sport: NFL
  • Teams: Carolina Panthers at Dallas Cowboys
  • Where: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX
  • Date: Sunday, October 3, 1:00 PM EDT
  • Betting Odds:
    • Spread: CAR +5 (1.90) | DAL -5 (1.90)
    • MoneyLine: CAR +280 | DAL +1.44
    • Total: 50.5 – Over 1.90 | Under 1.90

Odds available at PointsBet | at Caesars | at DraftKings | at Fanduel | at BetRivers

Cowboys Preview: Cowboys feeling good after 1st home win of 2021

The Cowboys have enjoyed some early season success through three weeks, and a lot of that comes from Dak Prescott. The Cowboys signal-caller is top 10 in passing yards (878), number one in completion percentage at 77.5%, and rounds out at top 10 in the touchdown department at six.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Cowboys have been much improved from last season. This year they are only giving up 20.3 PA/G, seven points down from last season’s 27.6 PA/G.

A big reason why that defense is succeeding is because of the 12th overall selection Micah Parsons. When DeMarcus Lawrence went down with a fractured foot in their Week 1 contest against the defending champs. Parsons stepped in as a perennial pass rusher in his absence, and it has kept this team afloat.

Parsons’ 36% pass-rush win rate ties Nick Bosa for the highest by a rookie in a single game since 2017. If that high level of play can continue, when Lawrence comes back, the Cowboys will be able to move the young linebacker anywhere, giving them optimal flexibility.

When the Cowboys work together and are efficient on both offense and defense, they are one of the best teams. Maintaining that level of play has been the problem, though.

Panthers Preview: Defensive pounce at the forefront of Panthers early-season success

When you boil down the Panther’s early-season success, there are really only three ingredients, ball control, elite defense, and timely plays. Many might say the blue and black haven’t had a real “test” game, considering they faced two rookie quarterbacks in Zach Wilson of the Jets and Davis Mills of the Texans.

But the Panthers are for real and this week is their chance to prove it against the Cowboys. When Prescott steps back, pass rushers Brian Burns and Haason Reddick have to get pressure on him quick and not give him time to pick the secondary apart from the pocket.

Last week rookie cornerback Jaycee Horn broke his foot, so this defense that ranks first in points allowed per game and sacks will need to live the “next man up” mentality for real. Former pro-bowl corner A.J. Bouye becomes that guy, slated to make his first start in the Panthers uniform.

The key to stopping the cowboys will be putting the clamps on Ezekiel Elliot and Tony Pollard.

The Panthers have been solid in run defense throughout the season, holding opponents to 45 YPG but will have a whole new test when it comes to one of the best in Elliot. All things considered, Sunday’s matchup is easily obtainable if the defense asserts its dominance early.

Odds & Free Betting Analysis for This NFL Game

Games like this are always tricky to predict. On one side, you have an elite offense, and on the other, you have an elite defense. It depends on who shows up and defense travels, so I would give the slight edge to the Carolina Panthers in a bound to be high scoring affair.

Take Carolina to cover the spread in this one. If they do lose it shouldn’t be by more than a field goal. This will be a tight one.

Panthers vs Cowboys Pick

  • Free Betting Pick: CAR +5

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