Atlanta Falcons vs. Carolina Panthers Matchup Preview (10/29/20): Betting Odds, Depth Charts, Live Stream (Watch Online)
The Falcons, again, blew a fourth-quarter lead. The Panthers also had a rough loss due to a Teddy Bridgewater sack that would end up being the difference in making or missing the game-tying field goal. The Falcons do not have much to play for, except for Matt Ryan. He very well could be playing for his job right now in Atlanta. On the other hand, the Panthers are trying to make a playoff push in Matt Rhule’s first season. It will be an NFC South showdown on Thursday Night Football.
For odds movement and full matchup history, visit the Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers Matchup Page.
Date: Thursday, October 29th, 2020
Time: 8:20 PM ET
Location: Bank of America Stadium- Charlotte, North Carolina
TV Coverage: FOX, NFLN, AMZN
Falcons vs. Panthers Live Stream
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Atlanta Falcons Analysis
The Atlanta Falcons are coming off another embarrassing loss, this time against Detroit. Todd Gurley accidentally fell into the endzone and cost the Falcons the game by allowing the Lions to get the ball back. Matt Ryan and the offense played decently well in the game, though they should be putting up more points against this Lions team. The defense played fine, and the last-minute FG they gave up still perplexes me, as the refs did not run 10 seconds off the clock as they should have. This team just cannot close out games.
This offense will be in another plus matchup as they face a Carolina defense that is not very good. Matt Ryan will be able to hit Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley as much as he wants in this game. It is entirely up to Matt Ryan to hit these throws and win Atlanta the ball game. I would also like to see Hayden Hurst more involved in this game. This could lead to the Falcons being able to sustain drives longer. Matt Ryan does not need to attempt that home run pass every single down.
Todd Gurley will be essential in this game. The Panthers struggle to stop the run, and Gurley can open up the play-action, as he has in the previous couple of weeks. The Panthers are going to drive and hit big plays on the Falcons’ defense. Gurley being able to chew some clock and just help the offense stay on the field is crucial for the Falcons’ success.
A.J. Terrell is one of the defensive players that actually looks valuable on this Falcons’ roster. I am very curious to see who he is going to guard if the Falcons decide to shadow a WR. The problem is that the Panthers have three guys who can burn down this defense. Meanwhile, the Falcons only really have one solid CB.
If Christian McCaffrey is back, that spells trouble for this Falcons’ front. I do believe that Grady Jarrett, Deion Jones, and co. could keep Mike Davis in check. However, they will not stop CMC, especially with how potent the weapons are around him. This will be something to watch for Atlanta fans who still want their team to win games. CMC is a massive difference-maker and turns this game from a decently even matchup into a very tough game for the Falcons.
Carolina Panthers Analysis
Matt Rhule seems to be doing something special with the Panthers. Coming into this year, many pegged the Panthers to be one of the worst teams in the NFL. They were rated bottom 5 in talent and seemingly were on the train to tank for Lawerence. However, Rhule and his offensive schemes have flipped that narrative on its head. The Panthers now have a chance at a playoff birth. He has Teddy Bridgewater playing exceptionally well as a facilitator and was able to manufacture wins with Mike Davis as his RB1.
Teddy Bridgewater has looked great; however, he does have top-tier weaponry all around him. Both DJ Moore and Robby Anderson are quality receiving threats. Not to mention Curtis Samuel is a great #2 for most teams, and he has been used all over the field. Matt Rhule has this team sustaining drives, hitting big plays, and beating up on other teams. There has yet to be a game, besides the Buccaneers matchup, where Matt Rhule has not gotten the upper hand on out scheming the opposing defense.
Mike Davis has played well as a backup. I think that he will have a big role in deciding this Thursday Night Football game. He will be called upon to extend drives and make plays. However, the Panthers could be getting a huge boost if CMC is back in the game. Not only does he add another dimension on the ground, but you are adding another explosive receiving threat for Bridgewater. McCaffrey is a special talent in this league, and he could be the deciding factor in this game.
Brian Burns has been the #1 player for this defense. He has consistently been able to bring the pressure and stuff the run on his side of the ball. He is currently grading out as one of the best second-year defensive players in the league and has been the key on defense. Look to Burns to limit Gurley’s ability to run outside the tackle, or really at all on the left side of the defense. I also will be looking at him and Derick Brown to get pressure on Matt Ryan and force some bad passes.
Carolina Panthers Depth Chart
Betting Corner Panthers -2.5
Spread: CAR -2.5
Moneyline: CAR -136 | ATL +120
The difference in this game is coaching. Matt Rhule has shown that he is an offensive mastermind. While the Falcons’ interim head coach Raheem Morris is no slouch, I do not think that he will be able to compete with Rhule. This is what is going to be the difference for the Panthers and lead them to a victory. Once the Falcons go down in this game, they will have little motivation to come back. The season seemingly is over for them already, and the players have suffered heartbreaking loss after heartbreaking loss.
I am taking the Panthers to win this one 30-20 over the Falcons.
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Daily Fantasy Picks
Hayden Hurst, at $4,200, is one of my top TE values of the week. He is priced low enough, where he should easily slip into many of your lineups. However, he has the possibility of a massive game. He has seen 6+ targets in three of his last four games, and Matt Ryan is warming up to him. If Hurst finds the endzone with the kind of yardage and target share that he has been getting, you are ending the week with a top TE.
DJ Moore, at $6,200, jumps off the page at me as a value pick. This Falcons’ defense will have trouble slowing him down, and I project that this will still be an offensive game with points flying onto the scoreboard. This means that the Panthers will need to continue to pass, and Moore will be the beneficiary. His speed should burn this bad secondary on the Falcons, and you are getting all this at a modest price.
Matt Ryan, at $6,300, is not a bad play. Ryan could have a massive game as the Falcons could be trailing for most of it. I do not see the Panthers being able to stop Ryan consistently in this game. He is entering the week with a very high floor and a ceiling that could reach top-5 QB levels. Stack Ryan with Ridley for a risky GPP play this week.