Panthers vs Bengals Week 9 Picks and Predictions: Cincinnati Struggles to Block for Mixon

The Panthers' defense is starting to play better under new head coach Steve Wilks, which means it could be a long day ahead for Bengals' running back Joe Mixon. Read more in our Panthers vs. Bengals betting picks.

Nov 6, 2022 • 08:12 ET • 4 min read
Joe Mixon Cincinnati Bengals NFL
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A short week may be welcome by the Cincinnati Bengals, who don’t have to wait long to bounce back from a bad Monday loss when they host the Carolina Panthers in Week 9.

Cincinnati was rolled by rival Cleveland on Monday night, losing 32-13 as 3-point road favorites, and at first glance, this matchup with chaotic Carolina could be just what the team needs to get right before the bye week. 

The Panthers, however, have shown life after being left for dead following the firing of their head coach and a fire sale of top offensive talent in recent weeks. Carolina nearly made it two wins in a row in Week 8, but a careless unsportsmanlike penalty on a game-tying touchdown led to a missed extra point and an eventual overtime loss to Atlanta last Sunday.

I break down the big spread and Over/Under total, as well as give my best NFL picks and predictions for Panthers at Bengals on November 6. 

Panthers vs Bengals best odds

Panthers vs Bengals picks and predictions

Bengals running back Joe Mixon has had a rough first half of the season in 2022.

After making Cincy one of the best two-way attacks in 2021, Mixon and the Bengals' rushing game has produced poor results through eight weeks, ranked out 27th in EPA per handoff and scratching for only 3.5 yards per carry — third lowest in the league.

Mixon rushed for 82 yards in Week 1 and has yet to surpass that mark, coming off a 27-yard performance on only eight carries in the loss at Cleveland on Monday. He’s been more active in the passing game, with 32 and 33 yards receiving the past two outings. Still, his inability to hold up in pass protection is an issue for a Bengals team struggling to block for Joe Burrow overall.

Looking at this Carolina defense, interim head coach Steve Wilks wants this unit to be more aggressive, and the Panthers are bringing the blitz on 30% of dropbacks — the seventh-highest rate in the land. And with injuries to starters in the secondary, Carolina is really counting on the pass rush to disrupt opposing passers.

Mixon’s poor pass protection could take him off the field for key downs, with his Pro Football Focus pass block grade sitting 115th among qualified running backs at a dismal 24.3 rating. According to PFF, his backfield mate Samaje Perine actually ranks out as the top blocking running back in the NFL, with a rating of 88.7, and third-stringer Chris Evans rates out at 24th (73.1).

We did see Mixon’s snap count dwindle in Week 8. In fact, his activity has slowly slimmed since the start of the season, playing only 38 snaps versus the Browns and averaging just 43 snaps over the past four games compared to almost 54 in the opening four weeks.

When it comes to Mixon’s rushing production, the Panthers aren’t the defense to get you right. Carolina is No. 4 in EPA allowed per handoff, checking runners to only four yards per carry over the past three games and ranking out third in run stop win rate (34%) at ESPN.

The Panthers' defensive line is tied for ninth in stuffed runs (tackles for no gain/loss) at Football Outsiders and goes up against a Bengals run-blocking unit failing to generate bigger gains on the ground.

My best bet: Joe Mixon Under 92.5 rushing and receiving yards (-114)

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Panthers vs Bengals spread analysis

The lookahead line was sitting Bengals -9 last week before the Panthers’ second straight solid showing and Cincinnati’s embarrassing loss in Cleveland. The line reopened with Cincy at -7.5, and early action walked that down off the half-point hook to a touchdown.

The Bengals' offense sputtered without No. 1 WR Ja’Marr Chase in Week 8, as Burrow averaged 6.6 yards per attempt and finished with 232 yards passing with two touchdowns and one interception, along with five sacks. That brings Burrow’s sack total up to 29 — the most in the AFC — despite a revamped and high-priced offensive line.

Carolina QB P.J. Walker is getting comfy as the Panthers starter, with two solid showings in the past two weeks. The Panthers’ third-string passer threw for 317 yards in the overtime loss at Atlanta but has seen his average yards per attempt spike after a very slow start to his time as the QB1.

DraftKings was reporting 54% of bets coming in on the Panthers and the points, while the handle was leaning toward Cincinnati at a slight 51% rate. Covers Consensus is showing 54% of picks on the host Bengals.

Panthers vs Bengals Over/Under analysis

This total hit the board at 43 points on Sunday night and has come down a tick to 42.5 as of Thursday.

Both teams have injuries in the secondary, with the Bengals losing starting corner Chidobe Awuzie to injury while also listing the other starting CB Eli Apple as questionable, along with fellow CB Mike Hilton. Carolina has starting CBs Jaycee Horn and Donte Jackson as questionable, along with versatile LB Frankie Luvu. 

The Bengals have played at a slower pace the past three outings, running just 56.7 plays per game versus an average of 69.8 in the first five games and sitting 23rd in tempo with 28.87 seconds per snap. Carolina is a quicker attack, running the 10th fastest seconds per play, and amassed 73 offensive snaps versus Atlanta last week.

These defenses remain the backbone of each team, though. Carolina has been dominant against the run game and ranks 12th in EPA per play despite not getting much support from the offense this season. Cincinnati is just ahead of them at No. 9 in that advanced measurement, playing especially well against the passing game. 

The Bengals are 2-5-1 Over/Under on the season but have gone 2-0-1 O/U in the past three games. The Panthers own a 3-5 O/U count heading into Week 9.

DraftKings was reporting 70% of bets on the Over but 56% of the handle backing the Under. Covers Consensus is showing 61% of support for the Over.

Panthers vs Bengals betting trend to know

Since taking the head coaching job in 2019, Zac Taylor’s Bengals are 4-12 SU in non-conference games with an 8-9 ATS count in those contests. Cincinnati has also gone 5-12 O/U against NFC foes in that span. Find more NFL betting trends for Panthers vs. Bengals.

Panthers vs Bengals game info

Location: Paycor Stadium, Cincinnati, OH
Date: Sunday, November 6, 2022
Kickoff: 1:00 p.m. ET
Opening odds: Bengals -9, 43.5 O/U

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