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NFL Thursday Night Football: Atlanta Falcons vs. Carolina Panthers Preview, Odds, and Prediction

To kick off NFL Week 8 we have what looks to be a wildly entertaining game on Thursday night between NFC south rivals the (3-4) Carolina Panthers and the (1-6) Atlanta Falcons. Both teams coming off a devastating loss, I can tell you who will bounce back!


Two teams with two big blunders

Last week the Atlanta Falcons somehow found another way to lose football games when basically having the win. If you somehow don't know what happened at the end of this game, here is a summary below.

After that, the 4th quarter king Matthew Stafford marched up the field with 1:04 on the clock and no time outs to win the game.

The Panthers, on the other hand, were playing a hard-fought game against the New Orleans Saints. If not for Teddy Bridgwater taking an idiotic sack making Joey Slye kick 65 yarder (which he almost made), we could be having a different conversation


Match-up Preview

This week these two teams match up for the second time this year. They faced off in week 5 in Atlanta, which resulted in Carolina winning 23-16. The Falcons are currently in punt mode with their record being an NFC worst 1-6, and but I don't think their record is good a representation of how good they are. The Falcons could easily be 4-3 if they didn't give away wins vs Dallas, Chicago, and Detroit. For the Falcons, I don't think there is an elaborate solution for their record. It's more that they have to get out of their own way. The Panthers on the other hand have put together good performances so far this season. Carolina won its first three games without running back Christian McCaffrey (ankle) and nearly improved to 4-1 during the absence of the star RB. McCaffrey is still going to be out for tonight's game. Much of the credit for the team's success goes to QB Teddy Bridgewater; he is completing 72.2 percent of his passes, is fifth in league with 1,930 passing yards and has rushed for 131. Without McCaffery, Carolina has been receiving help from backup running back Mike Davis, who is second on the team with 37 receptions and leads the team with 284 rushing yards. Davis had a good outing against the Falcons in week 5, posting 149 total yards and a touchdown. When the Falcons play, a lot of the talk concerns the fantastic talent they have at the receiver position with All-Pro Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley, who is third in receiving yards (615) and touchdowns (6). Carolinas got some studs at the receiver too position in Robby Anderson and DJ Moore. Anderson is second in the league in receiving yards (640), while Moore is seventh in yards per catch (18.3). The Falcons are second in the NFL for passing yards allowed per game (333.4), but they rank in the top 10 against the run. The Panthers are ranked 18th against the run defensively (124). Look for the Falcons to attack their defence early by using Todd Gurley until his knees blow up in the running game.


Game Stats to get your dick hard


  • The Falcons are 2-5 against the spread this season.

  • The Panthers are 4-3 against the spread this season.

  • The Falcons are 2-1 ATS this season as an underdog, and since the start of last season, traditional TNF games between division rivals has seen the underdog go on to cash a spread wager in eight of their 10 opportunities.

  • "In each of the last two seasons, these two teams have always managed to cash the opposite result on the total in their 2nd meeting of the year. (Their last game went under)

Picks

This game is really a pick'em because both teams are built very similarly with a significant amount of skill on offence and problems on the defensive side. The factors I believe will decide this game is the playmaking ability of the team's best players. Julio Jones returning last week rejuvenated Atlanta passing game and showed what a difference he makes when he's healthy. The Panthers being without McCaffery for another week will impact close games, which this very likely will because it's the Falcons. There usually is a big swing if a team is at home, but this season home field does not mean very much with either limited or no fans in attendance.

  • Atlanta Falcons ML (+105)

  • Over (51.5)


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