Atlanta Looks for Twofer Against Panthers
Just nine days after their first meeting of the season, the Atlanta Falcons will head into Carolina looking for a season sweep over the Panthers.
In what has been an awful NFC South division this season, the 4-5 Atlanta Falcons will head into Carolina for a rematch with the 2-7 Carolina Panthers. This will somehow be an important division matchup.
These two teams always play each other tough, and this game’s three-point spread reflects that. Here are a few things to look for when making your bets for Thursday Night Football this week.
Falcons Win Round 1
Just a week and a half prior to this Thursday night matchup, the Falcons beat the Panthers 37-34 in OT in Atlanta. Atlanta was in control for essentially the entire second half, and was pushed to overtime by a freak 62-yard bomb from PJ Walker to DJ Moore with 12 seconds left in regulation.
The Falcons still managed to walk away with a slim victory, but arguably should have won more comfortably. Panthers new running back D’Onta Foreman went off for 118 yards and three TDs, which won’t happen again. Even on the road, the Falcons should be able to manage a similar result this time around.
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Panthers Have Porous Run Defense
The Falcons have the fourth-most effective run game in the NFL, averaging 162.9 yards per game on the ground. This is an ideal matchup for them, as the Panthers allow 139.3 rushing yards/game, fifth-most in the league.
A week and a half ago Caleb Huntley, Marcus Mariota, and Tyler Allgeier combined for 173 yards on the ground but couldn’t manage a touchdown. That will change this time around, especially with the return of starting running back Cordarrelle Patterson. Atlanta should put on an absolute rushing clinic this Thursday night.
Panthers Must Pass for Success
The Panthers have had a very up-and-down season passing the ball, but have looked their best with PJ Walker throwing the ball. He will be starting against the Falcons secondary, who he lit up for 317 yards last time around.
That Falcons secondary is allowing an even 300 yards per game through the air, the most in the league by a comfortable margin. Expect the Panthers to throw for a lot of yards again, but touchdowns may not be as easy to come by a second time around.
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The Falcons looked much better than the Panthers last time out and it took a fluke Hail Mary to send the game to overtime. Even in Carolina, the Panthers offense can’t be trusted to go for 478 yards and 34 points again. This matchup should be a much slower game, which favors the Falcons. Expect at least a push on that -3, but the Falcons should prevail again.
Prediction: Falcons -3 over Panthers (-110 at BetMGM)
Last time these teams played, the offenses exploded for 71 points. That won’t happen again, especially on a short week. This should be a slow-paced game with a lot of Atlanta running the ball and eating clock. After a narrow loss last Thursday night, the under should return to its strong form this week.
Prediction: Under 44 (-110 at BetRivers)
Watch: Thursday, 8:15 p.m. ET, Amazon Prime
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