The Atlanta Falcons will visit the Carolina Panthers at the Bank of America Stadium on October 29, 2020, for the NFL’s Thursday Night Football showcase.
These teams met in Week 5 with the Panthers emerging victorious via a 23-16 score. Carolina was a 2.5 point underdog in that game but they outgained the Falcons 437-373 in total offense. Terry Bridgewater threw for 313 yards with two scores while Mike Davis rushed for 89 yards in the win. Matt Ryan threw for 226 yards but was sacked twice and intercepted once in that first meeting. Todd Gurley had a big game with 121 rushing yards on 14 carries in the losing effort. The Falcons are 1-6 on the season while the Panthers are 3-4 after seven games played.
The Atlanta Falcons fell to 1-6 on the season following another disappointing finish. The Falcons trailed 16-14 when Todd Gurley scored on a rushing touchdown with 1:12 left on the clock. Atlanta made good on the two-point conversion to take a 22-16 lead with just over a minute left to play. But the Falcons defense allowed Matthew Stafford to move the ball 75 yards, including an 11-yard TD pass to TJ Hockeson that gave the Lions a 23-22 win.
Matt Ryan threw for 338 yards on 31-42 passing with one touchdown. Julio Jones caught 8 passes for 97 yards while Calvin Ridley had five catches for 69 yards and the score. Gurley led the Falcons with 63 rushing yards on 2.7 yards per carry. The Falcons outgained the Lions 388 to 386 yards but couldn’t make the plays that matter. Atlanta ranks 13th in scoring at 26.3 points per game. They are third in passing offense at 295.6 per contest. Their defense is giving up 29.6 points per game, 26th in the NFL. They are next to last in defending the pass at 333.4 passing yards per game allowed.
The Panthers lost their second straight game when they dropped a 27-24 contest to the New Orleans Saints last Sunday. Terry Bridgewater had a good game, completing 23 of 28 passes, for 254 passing yards with two touchdowns, and no interceptions. However, he was unable to move the Panthers to field goal range in their final possession which led to a missed 65-yard field goal attempt by Joey Slye.
Carolina’s running game failed them against New Orleans. The Panthers rushed for only 37 yards on 14 carries with no run going for more than seven yards. Because of that, New Orleans outgained Carolina 415 to 283 while rushing for 138 yards on 4.8 yards per carry. The Panthers rank 13th in points allowed at 24 points per game. They also rank 10th against the pass at 227.1 passing yards per contest.
Atlanta is 1-6 SU in their last six games played. The Falcons are 1-2 in three road games played this season, and 1-6 SU in their last seven games against the NFC. Carolina is 3-12 SU in their last 15 games played. The Panthers are 1-6 SU in their last seven games played at home, and 2-11 SU in their last 13 games against the NFC. Head to head, the Falcons are 8-2 SU in their last 10 games played against the Panthers.
Atlanta blew another close game the last time out. Todd Gurley’s late touchdown run gave the Lions the final possession down by six. Mathew Stafford then marched the Lions to the game-winning score with no time left on the clock. That heartbreaking loss may be tough to get out of the Falcons’ mind given the short turnaround time. Star wideout Julio Jones was limited in practice with a hamstring injury while wide receiver Russell Gage is also questionable with an ankle injury.
The Panthers won their first three games after star tailback Christian McCaffrey went down with an ankle injury in week 2. But since then, Carolina has lost back to back games and they have scored only 40 points in the last two weeks. McCaffrey is back at practice but has not yet been activated. That means that Mike Davis will start again and he is just picking up 2.5 yards per carry.
Atlanta is 5-2 SU in their last seven games as the betting underdogs. They are also 5-1 SU and ATS in their last six games against the Panthers. I think this is a pretty even matchup and you can make an argument for Carolina. However, I’ll take the plus money on the Falcons here.
Prediction: Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons are 1-4 ATS in their last five games played. Atlanta is 6-1 SU in their last seven games played on the road. The Panthers are 4-1 ATS in their last five games played. Carolina is 1-2 ATS in three home games played this season and 7-2 ATS in their last nine October games. Head to head, the Falcons are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games played against the Panthers.
The spread has been historically small when these two teams play. In seven out of their last nine meetings, it has been 3.5 or less. However, eight of those nine meetings were decided by at least a touchdown including October 20’s 7-point win by the Panthers. Atlanta is better than its 1-6 record and they have actually played well but have always found a way to lose games. However, Carolina hasn’t covered the spread well, going 1-5 ATS in their last six with their only cover against a team with a losing record. Since 2013, the Panthers have not been able to sweep their season series against the Falcons.
Prediction: Falcons +2
The total has gone over in four out of the seven games played by the Falcons this season. Atlanta has seen the total go over in two of three road games played this season. The under is 5-1 in their last six October games. The total has gone over in five out of Carolina’s last six games against the NFC South. Head to head, the total has gone under in 11 out of the last 15 games between these two teams.
These teams have combined to score an average of 45.2 points per game in their last 10 head to head meetings and 43.66 points per game in their most recent three encounters. These teams played last October 20th and they combined to score just 39 points. The Panthers have seen the total go under in four out of their last five games since Christian McCaffrey went down in week 2, with the total going over by just 1.5 points last week. I don’t expect these teams to play any differently than the last time out.
Prediction: Under 51
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