The Carolina Panthers take to the field in a Week 8 Thursday Night Football matchup against their divisional rival, the Atlanta Falcons. The Panthers are 1-3 in divisional play, and 3-4 on the season after falling to the New Orleans Saints last week. The Falcons come into this week with just one win on the season, against the Minnesota Vikings, and six losses. The Panthers defeated the Falcons in Week 5, 23-13, but the Falcons lead the all-time series between the teams, 32-19. The Falcons fired head coach Dan Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff following their previous matchup.
In Week 7, Matt Ryan passed for 338 yards, one touchdown, and no interceptions for a 105.1 rating. Ryan leads the NFL with 2.181 passing yards and is seeking his third consecutive 300-plus yards game. In their last meeting, Ryan posted 21 completions for 226 yards, no touchdowns, one interception, and was sacked twice in that game.
Todd Gurley leads the Falcons with 122 rushes for 485 yards and seven touchdowns in 2020. He is tied for first in the NFL for total touchdowns. In last week’s game, he put two rushing touchdowns on the board and has 18 career games in which he scored at least two rushing touchdowns. In the previous meeting, he recorded a season-high 150 scrimmage yards, 121 rushing, and 29 receiving yards.
Julio Jones led his team with eight receptions and 97 receiving yards in Week 7 and has 31 receptions and 447 yards with two touchdowns so far this season. Calvin Ridley leads the Falcons with 40 receptions for 615 yards and six touchdowns. In their Week 5 meeting, he led the team with 136 receiving yards. Ridley is tied for third place in the league in both receiving yards and touchdowns.
Foyesade Oluokun put nine tackles on the books last week and recorded a season-high 14 tackles in the last game between Atlanta and Carolina. He has 49 total tackles this season, three forced fumbles, and one interception. Oluokun is the only player in the league to have more than 40 tackles and three forced fumbles. If he posts at least ten tackles this week, it will be his third in a row against Carolina doing so.
Safety Keanu Neal put 11 tackles and one sack on the records last week against Detroit and has 46 total tackles in 2020. Grady Jarrett leads the team with two and a half sacks this season and tackles for loss with six and a half. Deion Jones recorded a sack last week and is tied with Neal with five and a half tackles for loss.
Teddy Bridgewater faced his former team last week and completed 23 of 28 passes for 254 yards, two touchdowns, and zero interceptions for a 128.3 rating. Bridgewater ranks second among passers in the league with a completion percentage of 72.2 and ranks fifth in the league with 1,930 passing yards this season.
Mike Davis ranks second among running backs with 27 receptions on the season and has two rushing scores and receiving touchdowns in his last five games. He has 71 carries for 284 yards on the season but the Saints’ defense kept him to a minimal seven receptions for 12 yards in Week 7.
D.J. Moore put up four receptions for 93 yards and two receiving touchdowns last week, which was his second career two-touchdown game. In the Week 5 meeting, Moore put a touchdown on the board and is aiming for his fourth game in a row with at least 90 receiving yards. Robby Anderson recorded eight receptions for 112 yards in the last meeting between the two teams. He ranks second in the league with 640 receiving yards in 2020. Anderson and Moore are one of two wide receiver duos with at least 500 receiving yards this season (Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf).
Shaq Thompson led the Panthers’ defense with 13 tackles last week and is seeking his third game in a row against the Falcons with at least ten or more tackles. Thompson has 60 total tackles, 31 solo, and 29 assisted with one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, and two pass deflections so far this season.
Brian Burns recorded seven total tackles, one sack, one tackle for loss, and one pass deflection last week against the Saints. In Week 5 against Atlanta, he put a sack and a forced fumble on the books. Jeremy Chinn leads all rookies league-wide with 56 tackles this season and fellow rookie Derrick Brown ranks first in the National Football League with six tackles for loss. Chinn recorded eight tackles in Week 7 and Tre Boston put seven tackles on the books.
Date: October 29, 2020
Time: 8:20 P.M. est
Location: Charlotte, NC
Venue: Bank of America Stadium
TV: NFL Network
Betting Odds Sponsored by Jazz Sportsbook
Point Spread: ATL +2.5 (-110) | CAR -2.5 (-110)
Moneyline: ATL +115 | CAR -145
Over/Under: O 49 (-110) | U 49 (-110)
The Panthers average approximately 24 points per game, while the Falcons average 27 for a combined average of 51 points. The Falcons have been pretty predictable in their losses, but the scores have varied from 16 in one game to 40 in another, so there’s no telling which offensive line is going to show up. The Carolina defensive line has shown strength while rebuilding the team this season and probably won’t allow Atlanta to reach the end zone more than three times. The over will more than likely win you money on this game.
Carolina is going to look to make a strong comeback after losing to the Saints by three points last week. They need to improve in the divisional standings, but also should not have any problems defeating the Falcons on their home field. There has been speculation that Christian McCaffrey could return this week, and if that happens, Carolina should easily secure the victory.
Final Score: Atlanta Falcons 24, Carolina Panthers 35
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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images