Carolina Panthers vs. Atlanta Falcons
The Carolina Panthers host the Atlanta Falcons in an NFC South matchup on Sunday. The Falcons are -3 point favorites over the Panthers with an over/under point total set at 48.5.
The Carolina Panthers are one of the most improved teams in the NFL and while they aren’t going from worst to first or anything like that they have taken huge leaps this season. Ron Rivera walked into a good situation and while the Panthers have improved they should still have good enough draft position to fill some of their holes that may be holding them back from taking the next step. Cam Newton looked like a consolation prize on draft day when Andrew Luck decided to stay another year but he has played like anything but completing 60.8 percent of his passes with 13 touchdowns and 14 interceptions while rushing for 518 yards and 13 touchdowns. DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart are one of the best running back tandems in football averaging 4.8 and 4.9 yards a carry each respectively with each scoring three touchdowns. Steve Smith has rejuvenated his career with 61 catches for 1,092 yards with five touchdowns, Greg Olsen has 41 catches, and Legednu Naanee has 38 catches. Defensively Carolina has 23 sacks, eight fumble recoveries, and 10 interceptions and are minus three in turnovers and they are allowing 363 yards per game and 27 points. James Anderson has 100 tackles, Charles Godfrey has 73 tackles, and Charles Johnson has 8.5 sacks. The Panthers have been one of the more exciting teams to watch this season.
The Atlanta Falcons are very much in the playoff hunt in the NFC but they are two games out in the NFC South and tied with two other teams for the two Wild Card spots so for them crunch time has arrived. With two at home and two on the road left the Falcons are going to need to take at least one of their road games to realistically have a chance to play in the post season. Matt Ryan has completed 60.3 percent of his passes for 3,154 yards with 19 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Michael Turner has 992 yards and eight touchdowns and he’s averaging 4.3 yards per carry. Roddy White has 68 catches, Tony Gonzalez has 66 catches, and Harry Douglas has 35 catches. Defensively Atlanta has 23 sacks, nine fumble recoveries, and 11 interceptions and have a minus one turnover ratio while they allow 329.8 yards and 20.3 points. Curtis Lofton has 111 tackles, Sean Weatherspoon has 96 tackles, and John Abraham has five sacks. The Falcons are coming off of a defensive struggle last week against Houston but this shape up to be a different kind of game.
Carolina is 5-2 against the spread in their last seven home games, 2-5 against the spread in their last seven games against the NFC South, and 4-11 against the spread in their last 15 games as an underdog. Atlanta is 15-5-1 against the spread against a team with a losing record, 18-6 against the spread following a loss, and 0-5 against the spread as a favorite of up to three points. The favorite has covered in six of the last seven meetings of these two.
The total in this one is at 48.5 and it’s is dropping slightly but this is one where the number is moving the wrong way, possibly because of the Falcons’ low offensive output last week. I see a wild one in the NFC South and look for this one to go past the over.