The Carolina Panthers are the 16th team in NFL history to start the season 10-0. Only one of those 16 teams ever opened as an underdog in its next game.
The 1985 Bears were 10-0 and coincidentally opened as 2-point underdogs at Dallas. They won 44-0, and of course went on to win the Super Bowl that year. They did however lose one game that season, when they lost to the Dolphins two weeks later.
Even though they are 10-0 now, the Panthers are bound to lose a game or two sooner or later. Why shouldn't that game be in Dallas on Thanksgiving?
From a pure power ratings perspective, Carolina should be favored in this matchup. But given that it's the Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day with Romo back on the field, we had to open the home squad as short chalk. The country will be watching and the Cowboys are still America's team.
We'll see how the action develops for the game over the course of the week, but it's already clear that while the game may feature the two teams with the best and the worst NFC records on paper, it's also clear that a Cowboys team led by Tony Romo is a very different entity than a Cowboys team not led by Tony Romo.
But will that be enough to beat the Panthers on Thursday?