Atlanta Falcons vs. Carolina Panthers Matchup Preview (10/11/20): Betting Odds, Depth Charts, Live Stream (Watch Online)
It is week five of the NFL season and last week we saw some nerve-racking news where two teams had one or more players test positive for COVID-19. The NFL is finally getting caught up with the global pandemic, but plan to march on and keep the season alive. In this week five NFC South matchup, the Atlanta Falcons will take on the Carolina Panthers at home in search of their first win of the season. For odds movement and full matchup history, visit the Atlanta Falcons vs. Carolina Panthers Matchup Page.
Date: Sunday, October 11th, 2020
Time: 1:05 PM ET
Location: Merceds-Benz Stadium – Atlanta, Georgia
TV Coverage: FOX
Atlanta Falcons vs. Carolina Panthers Live Stream
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Atlanta Falcons: Julio Jones (questionable), Qadree Olsen, Takkarist McKinley, Jaylinn Hawkins, Younghoe Koo, Keanu Neal, Deadrin Senat, Ricardo Allen, Damontae Kazee, John Wetzel
Carolina Panthers: Dennis Daley (questionable), Russell Okong (questionable), Jason Ferris (questionable), Eli Apple (questionable)
Atlanta Falcons Analysis
The Atlanta Falcons are coming off their fourth straight loss on the season after losing on Monday night to an undefeated Packers team. The Falcons are a seriously disappointing winless team as they have one of the best offenses in terms of player talent in the NFL. After watching them struggle to move the ball on Monday night, it seems that Dan Quinn’s future job status may be in question going forward. Not to mention, Dirk Koetter was making some interestingly poor offensive calls against the Packers’ stellar defense. The look to grab their first win in an important divisional matchup against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.
Matt Ryan looked frustrated on Monday night against the Packers. He was sacked, missing throws, and constantly checking down passes. He knows that something needs to change for this Falcons’ team or they will continue to stay winless this season. Sadly enough, Atlanta’s terrific wide receiver core has been disappointing due to injury and lack of involvement on the offense. Against the Packers, Calvin Ridley did not record a single catch and Julio Jones was left in the locker room after the first half due to a hamstring injury. Matt Ryan will need to bring this group back together for an important game next Sunday against a weak Panther defense.
Todd Gurley was the only two touchdowns the Falcons had in week four against the Packers. He has established himself an important part of the offense for Atlanta because he takes away pressure from the passing game and can create his own yardage. He will continue to be a key to a struggling team next week against a Panther defense that has an Achilles heel of rushing defense. Their poor defensive line will be key for the Falcons to target next week to secure their first win of the season.
The Falcons defense continues to be an outstanding obstacle to any Falcon success. They have allowed the most points to opposing teams this season, and their injuries are also holding them back from keeping any team out of the endzone. If they can get healthy and situated for week five, they could have a chance at pulling out their first victory against the Carolina Panthers.
Atlanta Falcons Depth Chart
Carolina Panthers Analysis
The Carolina Panthers are tied for second in the NFC South with the New Orleans Saints this season. Last week, they impressively won at home against the Arizona Cardinals, who have been demolishing teams on the offensive side of the ball. Teddy Bridgewater has been quietly putting up solid quarterback numbers to lead this team to an even record. This will be an important game for them, as they are trying to take advantage of the vulnerable New Orleans Saints in the division.
As I mentioned, Teddy Bridgewater has been a very solid quarterback for the Panthers after they let go of their franchise quarterback, Cam Newton. He ranks in the top ten of quarterbacks this season in completions, yards, and completion percentage. However, he has only thrown for a small four passing touchdowns this season, mostly because Christian McCaffrey was leading the offensive charge before his injury. Atlanta has proven to be one of the worst defenses in the NFL this season, and Bridgewater should make use of his solid receiving core to put a lot of points on the board.
Christian McCaffrey was sidelined after week two with an injury that has placed him on injured reserve. However, in his place, Mike Davis has been a strong replacement in this offense to manage without their star running back. Since McCaffrey went down, the Panthers have won two straight games while rushing the ball essentially the same amount of times as they did with McCaffrey in the backfield. Joe Brady has been doing a solid job of mixing up the offensive playstyle, even without McCaffrey in the backfield.
The Carolina defense will be facing another tough offense, in which they will need to contain to let the offense take advantage of Atlanta’s defense. The Panthers have struggled against opposing star receivers and will face one of the deepest wide receiver cores in the league with Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, and Russell Gage. Their secondary has done a fine job containing quarterbacks to low amounts of yards and completions, but the defensive line has been their biggest struggle. They have produced the least amount of sacks of any team this season, and have been below-average at containing opposing run games. The defensive line will need to provide support in week five to help the Panthers get back to a winning record.
Carolina Panthers Depth Chart
Betting Corner Falcons -3.5
Spread: Falcons -3.5
Moneyline: Falcons -180, Panthers +160
Spread: Panthers +3.5
Moneyline: Panthers +180
Over/Under Over 55
At first, I was certain that week five would be the week that the Falcons receive their first win of the season. However, after seeing them continue to be held back by the reigns of their coaching staff and league-worst defense, I am not sure they will be able to get it done. Everyone knows Atlanta is due for a win, but their injuries and morale might weigh them down too much. Especially for the odds, Carolina is a solid underdog pick for the spread and money line in week five.
This game should be a battle of offensive games. The Falcons have allowed the most points to opposing team while always putting a large number up for themselves in each contest. I expect this game to continue with the common theme of “over” for the 2020 season.
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Fantasy Love/Hate Picks
Todd Gurley has been average this season by scoring 11.7 fantasy points per game. However, the Falcons have faced some difficult defenses like Chicago and Seattle in terms of rush defense. Carolina has a struggling defensive line and fails to defend the run. I think Gurley is primed to have a good night, especially if he gets to the goal-line. Look for Gurley to have RB2 potential numbers in week five.
D.J Moore has been slightly disappointing this year after having a phenomenal fantasy season last year for a rookie receiver. Nonetheless, he has led the team in targets twice, but when he doesn’t, he does not get many looks. He has failed to get in the endzone thus far in the season, however, he should look to do that as a deep threat against Atlanta’s terrible secondary. Look for him to break out for WR2/WR3 numbers in week five.
Mike Davis has been a solid replacement for the injured star, Christian McCaffery, since his placement on injured reserve. He has consistent touches in the backfield and a lot of looks for a running back in the passing game. Over the past two weeks, he has averaged 22.6 fantasy points, however, the Atlanta Falcons secondary is so bad that we will most likely see Bridgewater spread the ball downfield to his receivers. Mike Davis should still have a solid week, but not at the numbers he has been putting up.