Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#141 Carolina Panthers 48.5 vs.
#142 Atlanta Falcons -3.5
Sunday, December 8, 2019 at 1:00pm EST
Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta
Written by Scott Reichel

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Week 14 of NFL football continues as the Carolina Panthers travel to Mercedes-Benz Stadium to take on the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, Dec. 8 at 1:00 P.M. These two teams have not met since week 11 when the Falcons beat the Panthers on the road by the score of 29-3.

Panthers Fire Their Head Coach

The Carolina Panthers are in terrible form headed into this game. The Panthers started the season with victories in five of their first eight games of the season so it appeared that they were well on their way to clinching a playoff spot. However, the wheels quickly spiraled out of control as the Panthers then lost each of their last four games. Now, Carolina's playoff hopes are basically nonexistent but it is still technically possible for it to make the playoffs but the Panthers will need to win every game left on the schedule to keep its hopes alive. To make matters worse, they officially fired Ron Rivera as their head coach and defensive backs coach Perry Fewell will take over in the interim. As a result, one has to wonder just how hard these players will play for their new head coach.

Carolina's offense is led by running back Christian McCaffreywho has been unbelievable this season as he has already has 1,167 rushing yards and 12 rushing touchdowns. In addition, he also has 644 receiving yards and four receiving touchdowns so he has been a serious weapon in multiple areas throughout the season.

Defensively, Carolina has been underwhelming up to this point in the regular season. The Jets are allowing 26.7 points per game which ranks 26th in the league. In addition, the Panthers are allowing 366.7 yards per game which ranks 22nd in the league. Now, Carolina will look for a solid defensive performance on the road on Sunday.

Falcons Continue To Disappoint

Atlanta enters this game with a 3-9 record as it has looked like an absolute mess all season long. As of right now, the Falcons have no shot at a playoff spot and Coach Quinn will most likely get fired at the end of the season. However, Quinn's job is still technically on the line since no announcement has been made yet regarding his job security so the Falcons can still play hard for the next few games with the hopes of saving his job. However, Atlanta has lost at home to a division rival in each of the last two weeks so Quinn's hole continues to get deeper as the season progresses.

Leading the Falcons offensively is quarterbackMatt Ryan who has been decent this season as he has 3,246 passing yards along with 20 passing touchdowns. However, he has thrown 12 interceptions while also fumbling seven times so he has had serious issues when it comes to ball security.

Defensively, Atlanta has been below average up to this point in the regular season. The Falcons are allowing 26.9 points per game which ranks 27th in the league. In addition, the Falcons are allowing 368.2 yards per game which ranks 23rd in the league. Now, Atlanta will look to play better defensively at home in this game.

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

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The Panthers have been dealing with a ton of distractions over the past week and I have to question just how focused these players will be on the actual game itself. Atlanta already beat Carolina handily earlier this season and now it will be in front of its home fans so I think that the Falcons should be able to get another victory in this game. Until Carolina shows signs of life under its new head coach, I cannot back the Panthers. Give me the home team.

Prediction: Atlanta -3

Full-Game Total Pick

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Both teams have been terrible defensively all season long so I will take the over. Neither team in this matchup is allowing less than 26.7 points per game so I think that this game should be a bit more high-scoring than the oddsmakers anticipate. Both teams should be able to score at least 24 points in this game as a result so I think the game should finish somewhere in the low-50s. Give me the over as a result.

Prediction: Over 47.5

Half-Time Side Pick

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While Carolina decided to fire its head coach, Atlanta has decided to keep its current coach and I think that the players will remain motivated to play hard for Coach Quinn with the hopes of helping him keep his job into next season. Atlanta also looked competitive against New Orleans last week and it entering this game off an added layoff so I think that the Falcons will come out playing well in the first half. Give me the home team.

Prediction: Atlanta 1H
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Written By Scott Reichel

Scott Reichel is a University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate with an insane passion for sports. His commitment to endlessly researching statistics helps separate him from other handicappers with regard to MLB, NBA, NCAAB, NCAAF, NHL and NFL coverage. Scott also shares his passion for sports on StatSalt's YouTube page where he does a daily show called Scott's Selections.