The Green Bay Packers now control their own destiny as they took over the top seed in the NFC last week, and with it, the only bye in the postseason. It’s a big difference whether or not the NFC playoffs run through Green Bay or New Orleans, and the Packers have seized control of that race as they get set to welcome the Carolina Panthers. Carolina has fallen off the radar since a promising start and the Panthers won’t find more confidence in Green Bay this week. Panthers vs. Packers Betting Odds It is really unfortunate that Carolina has not been playing with a full deck for most of the season because the Panthers are a tough team when fully healthy. However, confidence has drained from the team as injuries have mounted with key players and now they have to travel to Green Bay this week. Teddy Bridgewater has proven he is very capable of being an NFL starter still as he’s completed more than 73 percent of his passes in three of the last four weeks and is averaging a career-best 258 passing yards per game. He’s hasn’t had Christian McCaffrey in the backfield most of the season, and it will be interesting to see if Carolina brings him back for these last few games with nothing to play for. Bridgewater has built excellent relationships with Robby Anderson, D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel, giving hope for the Panthers future when all three will be healthy at the same time. The defense is a concern this week with Carolina ranking 23rd against the pass this season, and facing a strong passing offense. The Chiefs and Buccaneers put up 300 passing yards in consecutive weeks on this defense not that long ago, and the Packers offer similar firepower in the aerial attack. Aaron Rodgers has been extremely consistent for the Packers this season with an NFL-leading 39 touchdown passes and a league-low four interceptions. His 283 yards per game are the second-most in his career behind only his 2011 MVP season and his 69.6 percent completion percentage is his best for a full season. He’s throwing touchdowns on 8.7 percent of his attempts, trailing only that 2011 season, and he’s throwing interceptions on less than one percent of his throws, matching his productivity from the last two seasons. He has a standout receiver in Davante Adams, who has been a mismatch for every opposing defense thus far, and he finally has a stable running game with Aaron Jones in the backfield. It’s the recipe for the best scoring offense and second-best total offense in the league this year, and should give Carolina plenty of problems Saturday. This is an interesting over/under total from the NJ’s Top Online Sports Betting sites because it becomes a question of Carolina’s offensive abilities. The line is set at 51.5 points and Green Bay will certainly do its part to reach this total. The Packers have scored at least 30 points in four straight weeks and in five of the last six games. Carolina has scored at least 20 points in five straight games, but the Panthers are playing shorthanded on offense. If McCaffrey and Moore then that will give Teddy Bridgewater more options to work with on offense. The Packers are very good at building large leads then allowing teams to score in garbage time, and I expect that will be the case here. Green Bay can easily score on this Carolina defense, but the explosive weapons of the Panthers offense will come alive to add some points in the fourth quarter. I’ll stay a bit conservative here and bet the over 55.5 points in this game for +145 odds. Packers to win The Packers are only 8.5-point favorites on the NFL betting sites in New Jersey, which means it’s a fantastic opportunity for some value. Green Bay is playing for a whole lot more than Carolina right now and the Panthers have been slumping in recent weeks while the Packers have been surging. The Packers’ strengths are the Panthers’ weaknesses and Carolina’s offense just isn’t explosive enough to keep pace with Green Bay’s attack. If Denver can put up 32 points on this defense then Rodgers can easily rival what Tom Brady did to Carolina in Week 10 when he threw for 341 yards and dropped 46 points. This is going to be a blowout in Wisconsin but the Packers have a knack for allowing garbage time points, so I’m betting the Packers laying 16.5 points at +180 odds.