The tenth week of the NFL season begins with the Carolina Panthers (2-7, 2-3 home) hosting the Atlanta Falcons (4-5, 1-3 away) in a NFC South clash of two teams below the .500 mark. Atlanta and Carolina met less than three weeks ago, with the Falcons knocking off the Panthers in overtime, 37-34.
Thursday’s kickoff is at 8:15 p.m. EST inside Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Falcons are a 2.5-point favorite, and the over/under total is currently at 42.5 points.
What to Know – Atlanta Falcons
Atlanta enters the short week after a narrow 20-17 loss at home against the Los Angeles Chargers. The defeat was the second in three contests for Atlanta, but the Falcons remain tied atop the division with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Marcus Mariota has taken every snap under center for the Falcons this season. The former Heisman Trophy winner is completing 61.7% of his passes for 1,561 yards with ten touchdowns and six interceptions. Mariota has added 304 yards and three scores on the ground, third on the team in rushing yards.
Starting running back Cordarrelle Patterson returned to the lineup last week after missing time due to an injury. Patterson missed three games but leads the team in rushing scored with five, and is second in yards with 384 yards. Tyler Allgeier leads the Falcons carrying the ball for 423 yards.
Rookie wide receiver Drake London is the go-to pass-catcher for the Mariota and the offense. The USC product leads the team in receptions (33), yards (369) and is tied for a team-best two touchdowns.
Tight end Kyle Pitts (23 receptions) and wideout Olamide Zaccheaus (22 receptions) are a pair of popular targets for the veteran quarterback.
What to Know – Carolina Panthers
The Panthers are in disarray as an organization without their head coach and questions at the quarterback position. Carolina’s poor start to the season have the Panthers sitting at the bottom of the division and losers of two straight.
P.J. Walker was benched in last week’s loss but is expected to get back under center against the Falcons. Walker had a game to forget, tossing a pair of interceptions and completing 3-of-10 passes for only nine yards.
Christian McCaffrey is gone, so the rushing duties have been handed over to D’Onta Foreman and Chuba Hubbard. Foreman has posted solid numbers in 2022, tallying 296 yards on the ground and averaging 4.9 yards per carry.
Wide receiver DJ Moore is favored in the passing game considerably more than anyone else on the Panthers’ roster. Moore has 71 targets, with the closest pass-catcher at 23. The fourth-year pro has 35 catches for 449 yards and three TDs.
The Pick is In
Carolina had the game in the bag in Atlanta, tying the game in the closing seconds before a 15-yard penalty led to a missed PAT attempt and overtime.
Walker played well in that one, and expect the quarterback to bounce back Thursday night. The Panthers handle business at home and get back in the win column.
The Pick: Carolina Panthers +2.5