Atlanta Falcons (4-3 SU, 2-5 ATS, 3-4 O/U) vs. Carolina Panthers (5-3 SU, 4-4 ATS, 4-4 O/U)
NFL: Sunday, November 5, 2017 at 1:00 p.m. EST
The Line: Carolina Panthers -2. Total: 44.
The Carolina Panthers and Atlanta Falcons will be trying to remain in serious NFC South contention when they square off at Bank of America Stadium in Carolina on Sunday afternoon. Both teams still trail New Orleans, but the Panthers got back on the winning track by halting a two-game skid last weekend with a win over Tampa Bay. The Falcons did the same, putting an end to a three-game slump by beating the Jets.
Three in a row
Since getting blown out by Carolina 38-0 in Week 14 of the 2015 campaign, the Falcons are 3-0 against the Panthers. They exacted revenge with a 20-13 victory just two weeks later and won both games between the division rivals last season. Atlanta prevailed 48-33 at home on Oct. 2 and 33-16 at Carolina on Christmas Eve. In the first contest, wide receiver Julio Jones racked up a ridiculous 300 yards. When the Falcons took the road later in the year, running back Tevin Coleman rushed for 90 yards and a touchdown while the defense limited Cam Newton under 200 passing yards and picked him off twice.
“We’ll be ready,” right tackle Ryan Schraeder assured. “It’s going to be a fistfight, so I’m excited. I think everybody’s got a good attitude right now.”
“You know what? I’m looking forward to playing Carolina because they’re the next team we play,” Jones noted. “I mean, we’re going to handle that. Every game is the same for us. We don’t need to make things up for it.”
Even though the Buccaneers were 2-4 heading into their Week 8 game against Carolina, they went into it with the second-ranked offense in the NFL. That is not how things played out, to say the least, as Tampa Bay managed nothing more than a field goal in a 17-3 loss to the Panthers. The home team was limited to a mere 279 yards of total offense. Linebacker Luke Kuechly, who missed one game with a concussion, had eight tackles and a fourth-quarter interception that all but clinched victory with 6:04 remaining. Defensive end Julius Peppers moved into fourth place on the NFL’s all-time sack list when he recorded No. 151 while also stripping quarterback Jameis Winston.
“We went out as a defense and put a complete game together,” linebacker Thomas Davis explained. “This is the kind of defense we’re capable of playing. We know if we go out and execute like we’re supposed to and like we’re capable of doing we can come away with some pretty good numbers.”
The Atlanta Falcons are:
- 9-4 ATS in their last 13 road games
- 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games against the NFC
- 4-1 ATS in their last five games against the NFC South
The Carolina Panthers are:
- 0-4 ATS in their last four home games
- 2-6 ATS in their last eight games against the NFC South
- 1-4 ATS in their last five games following a win
The Panthers’ offense was far from spectacular against Tampa Bay, which was featuring a defense that had been giving up 408.5 yards and 25.2 points a game. Quarterback Cam Newton threw one touchdown and one interception while completing only 18 of 32 passes. He has two scoring strikes compared to six picks in the last three games. The Falcons are 9-4 ATS in their last 13 on the road, 5-2 ATS in their last seven on the road against opponents with winning home records, 8-2 ATS in their last 10 against the NFC, and 4-1 ATS in their last five against the NFC South. Carolina is 0-4 ATS in its last four at home, 2-6 ATS in its last eight against the NFC South, 1-4 ATS in its last five on grass, and 1-4 ATS in its last five following a win. Expect those trends to continue.
Pick: Atlanta Falcons +2
The Falcons have owned this head-to-head series over the last three contests dating back to 2015. Quarterback Matt Ryan has taken a step back so far this season following his MVP performance in 2016, but he always seems to excel against Carolina. And he may have gotten back on track during last week’s win over the Jets, passing for 254 yards and two touchdowns without throwing an interception in what was often a steady downpour. The over is 19-6-1 in the Falcons’ last 26 overall, 8-2 in their last 10 against winning opponents, 14-2-1 in their last 17 against the NFC, 5-0-1 in their last six against the NFC South, and 13-3-1 in their last 17 following a win. It is also 6-1-1 in the Panthers’ last eight at home against opponents with winning road records, 3-1-1 in their last five following a win, and 16-6-1 in their last 23 against winning opponents. Look for this one to go over the total.