Preview and predictions for Atlanta at Carolina on TNF
The Atlanta Falcons head to Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte Thursday night, taking on the Carolina Panthers in this NFC South clash. These two teams saw one another a few weeks ago, with the Falcons narrowly winning in overtime. Now, the rematch opens with the Falcons favored by a field goal (total at 43.5), according to NFL odds.
Falcons After Series Sweep
The Atlanta Falcons try to recover from a gut-wrenching home loss to the Los Angeles Chargers last week. Atlanta was tied with the Chargers at 17, looking as though it had a shot at the win. Forcing a Bolts’ fumble late in the final quarter (a poor play-call to be dissected at later time), it was the recoverer, defensive tackle Ta’Quon Graham, who fumbled himself instead of just falling on the ball. LA then booted the game-winning field goal.
Atlanta has been in these sorts of situations before, Exhibit 'A' - their overtime win at home against these Panthers. That was full of its own brand of controversy, wide receiver DJ Moore arguably costing the Panthers a victory. He removed his helmet after scoring a touchdown, making the ensuing go-ahead point-after a 48-yard attempt. It missed, as did a subsequent short field-goal try in overtime. Atlanta then prevailed, 37-34, with a field goal of their own.
Despite a 4-5 record, the Atlanta Falcons' season so far has been somewhat successful. Atlanta wasn't expected to do much this season, but have been respectable. A pathetic NFC South means that sub-500 record gives them a share (with Tampa Bay) of the division lead.
As second choice to (someone has to) win that division, Atlanta is +325, per NFL division odds.
Atlanta has managed to move the ball with the fourth-best rushing offense (162.9 yards/game) and 10th-highest scoring team (24.1 points/game) in the NFL. Atlanta will have an easy time of it if Carolina's run defense struggles here.
Panthers’ Revenge Game?
The Carolina Panthers will be coming in frustrated, seeking revenge as well. Carolina lost two games in a row, getting blown out by the homestanding the Cincinnati Bengals last Sunday. It's still PJ Walker at quarterback, despite him getting pulled after halftime against Cincy.
With the number of trades that the Panthers have made, notably Christian McCaffrey and Robby Anderson dealt away, Carolina may be accused of tanking its season. When 2-7 has the team just a couple of games out of first, perhaps that changes the thinking . . . or not.
Having no consistency at the quarterback position, Carolina simply can't compete.
Falcons to Complete Sweep
Much of these storylines focus around the Carolina Panthers gaining a measure of revenge after what happened a fortnight ago. That won't happen. The Atlanta Falcons are the better team entering this game. They will make fewer mistakes than they did in the last game. Atlanta is in need of a win on Thursday night, and a field goal point-spread is quite realistic. Take the Falcons -3.
With Atlanta now having all-around threat Cordarrelle Patterson back after an injured knee, expect this game to go over the total of 43.5