The Atlanta Falcons (1-6, 1-2 away) take on the Carolina Panthers (3-4, 1-2 home) in Thursday Night Football to kick off Week 8 action of the NFL. This is the second meeting of the season between the two teams, with the Panthers winning at home, 23-16, back in Week 5.
Both teams are at the bottom of the NFC South standings. The game starts at 8:20 p.m. EST at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C. Carolina is a 2.5-favorite in the Thursday night tilt.
What to Know – Atlanta Falcons
All Todd Gurley II had to do was fall short of the goal line, and the Falcons would have secured their second win in-a-row. Instead, Gurley fell right on the stripe for a score, giving the Lions time to drive down the field for the winning score. Atlanta finds itself in last place in the standings.
Veteran Matt Ryan has completed 190-of-286 passes for 2,181 yards, 12 touchdowns, and three interceptions. The 13-year quarterback has not tossed an interception since Week 5.
In his first season in a Falcons uniform, Gurley has amassed 485 yards rushing on 122 attempts with seven touchdowns. Calvin Ridley continues to lead the Falcons receiving core with 40 receptions for 615 yards and six touchdown grabs.
Atlanta’s defense has been plagued by injuries all year, and it has shown in the first half of the season. The Falcons are allowing an abysmal 425.9 yards of offense and surrendering 29.6 points per game this season.
The Falcons are 0-4 against the spread at home but 2-1 on the road. This season four of the Falcons’ seven games, the total has gone over.
What to Know – Carolina Panthers
It has been a season of ups and downs for the Panthers this season. Carolina dropped their opening two contests before rallying for three-straight but have since lost their last two. The Panthers’ last victory was against this Falcons team on the road.
In his first season in Carolina, Teddy Bridgewater is 169-for-234 with eight passing touchdowns, five interceptions, 131 yards on the ground, and a rushing score. Bridgewater finished with his highest completion percentage of the season of 82.1% (23-for-28 passing) in a losing effort to the Saints last Sunday.
Christian McCaffrey (41 carries, 156 yards, four touchdowns) will be out again for the Panthers after there was discussion about a return this week. However, Mike Davis (71 carries, 284 yards, two touchdowns) will receive the bulk of the carries for the Panthers offense.
Robby Anderson is the team’s leading pass-catcher (46 catches, 640 yards, one touchdown), but DJ Moore caught a pair of touchdown passes last week on four receptions for 93 yards.
Carolina’s defense is a middle-of-pack unit in the league with a points-against average (24.0) and total yards allowed (351.1) per game this year. The Panthers are tied for tenth in the league with ten takeaways.
The Panthers are 1-2 against the spread this season in Carolina but are 4-1 overall in their last five games. In their three home games, the total has gone over once, under once, as well as pushed once.
The Pick is In
This is a true toss-up in our eyes, with either team possessing the ability to escape with a victory. There should be more points scored in this one, leading us to lean on the Panthers.
The pick here is Carolina against the spread.