By: Jason Green
Carolina Panthers (11-4 SU 9-6 ATS) vs. Atlanta Falcons (9-6 SU 6-9 ATS)
The Panthers are in the playoffs and could up anywhere between the 2nd and 5th seed in the NFC. However, to get to the 2nd seed and get a first round bye they will have to win this Game and have both the Minnesota Vikings and L.A. Rams to both lose, which is pretty unlikely. Carolina has won three in a row and seven of their last eight Games and earlier this season at home they beat the Falcons 20-17.
At 5 dimes sportsbook the Falcons are the 4-point favorite with a total of 45,5.
The Falcons lost last Sunday, but they still control their playoff destiny. They will snag a Wild Card with a win and can also do that if the Seattle Seahawks lose. Atlanta had won two in a row before losing their last Game where they only put up 13 points. This season Matt Ryan and company only rank in the middle of the pack ranking 15th in ppg, bvut their D has been solid ranking tied for 11th giving up an average of 20.3 ppg.
The home team is 8-2 ATS in the last 10 Games between these NFC South rivals.
The Panthers were on the road in their last Game beating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 22-19, but even with the win they did not look impressive. They needed a TD run from Cam Newton with 35 seconds left and in the Game they were out-GAined 392 yards to 255 yards. It helped that they forced three turnovers and only committed one and they did stuff the run. Newton passed for 160 yards with no TD and one INT and he also led the team with 52 rushing yards even though he only averaged 3.7 yards per carry. Christian McCaffrey had 58 total yards in the Game and guys like him and RB Jonathan Stewart have to help Newton out more so he does not carry the team with his arm and legs. This season the Panthers are 5-2 on the road.
The Falcons rank 12th in the league in pass defense and 8th in the league in run defense and in the earlier loss in Carolina this season they allowed the Panthers to rush for 201 yards.
In their last Game the Atlanta offense fell pretty flat in their 23-13 loss to the New Orleans Saints in the Big Easy. The Falcons had more yards in the Game (331-315) ,but they had two turnovers and only forced one, they only rushed for 67 yards, and were only 2/13 on 3rd down conversions. Matt Ryan passed for 288 yards with a TD and a pick and star WR Julio Jones had a big Game with 149 receiving yards. Atlanta was led on the ground by Devonta Freeman with only 36 yards on 12 carries and the run Game needs to help Ryan out more in this Game. However, that will not be easy to do facing a Carolina run defense that ranks 6th in the league while their pass defense ranks 16th. This season the Falcons are 4-3 at home. Ryan does not have more than one passing TD in his last five Games.
The Panthers are 7-2 ATS in their last 9 road Games, 6-2 ATS in their last 8 Games, and in their last 6 Games they have an Over record of 5-1.
The Falcons are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 Games after an ATS loss, 20-8 ATS in their last 28 Games after scoring less than 15 points in their previous Game, and in their last 4 Games they have an Under record of 4-0.
Jason’s Pick: Don’t know why, but picking the Falcons and Ryan for the 2nd week in a row. Picked them last week and I was wrong, for the first time ever, but this week I will not be. At home Atlanta will get it done and they will win and cover the spread and make the playoffs in the process.