Can Atlanta finally get above .500 for the first time in ages?
This game is about two teams on different trajectories. The Falcons started the year with 2 straight losses. The Panthers won three in a row. Since then, the Atlanta Falcons (-3.0) have won 3 of their last 4 while the Carolina Panthers (+3.0) have lost 4 in a row. Matt Ryan has performed incredibly well over the last several weeks while Sam Darnold has regressed badly with Christian McCaffrey out of the lineup. Matt Ryan has been sacked a league-low 2 times over the last 4 games while Darnold has been taken down 15 times.
While the Panthers offense is struggling, the Falcons are finding their footing. Kyle Pitts has emerged as an incredible offensive weapon, defying the normal usage of an NFL tight end. Matt Ryan has been one of the best QBs in the league over the last 3 weeks and Cordarelle Patterson is one of the most surprising offensive weapons of the season.
The Panthers came into the season with the promise of a good defense. While the early returns were promising, they’ve had some rough games lately. The Vikings dropped 34 on them two weeks ago and they couldn’t stop the Giants from scoring 25, even as that team was missing key offensive players like Saquon Barkley.
The Falcons defense, though, could help the Panthers offense get back on track. They let the Dolphins climb back and take a 28-27 lead late in the fourth quarter after leading 27-14. Were it not for another Matt Ryan comeback, the Falcons would still be at the bottom of the NFC South. If this defense is going to improve, they’ll need their top cornerback – A.J. Terrell – to be back and healthy.
This is another game the Falcons should win, but like last week, the DraftKings Sportbook predicts that this game will be a close one as well.
Score prediction: Falcons 28, Panthers 24
Bold prediction: Kyle Pitts tops 100 yards again with 2 touchdowns
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Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.