Atlanta Falcons vs. Carolina Panthers Matchup Preview (12/12/21): Betting Odds, Depth Charts, Live Stream (Watch Online)
Atlanta Falcons vs. Carolina Panthers Matchup Preview (12/12/21)
It’s the tale of two 5-7 teams in this NFC South matchup featuring the visiting Atlanta Falcons and the Christian McCaffrey-less Carolina Panthers. Atlanta just lost to Tom Brady and the Bucs where they were held to a scoreless second half. The Panthers on the other hand, just had a bye week where they hopefully recuperated a dying offense. This team has rode the rollercoaster of wins and losses more than just about any team in the league and without their star running back McCaffrey, it doesn’t help this situation. It’s certainly not impossible to get a result against this Atlanta team though, and the last time these teams faced off in week 8, McCaffrey was sidelined and the Panthers still pulled off a win. Both Cam Newton and Matt Ryan have their work cut out for them this week as Ryan will be up against one of the best defenses in the league, and Newton will be looking to bounce back from his worst career performance in their loss at Miami.
Atlanta Falcons vs. Carolina Panthers Betting Odds
These two teams are drawn to 5-7 records. They are both 5-7 overall and 5-7 against the spread this season though the Falcons are 1-3 in divisional games this season while the Panthers are 2-0. In this week’s matchup, the Panthers are the 2.5-point favored team in this game with a projected point total of 43.5. This seems somewhat lofty considering both teams average under 20 points and given Carolina’s defense, Atlanta is probably not likely to get any more than that. In their last four games, they have hit the under everytime. Not that the Panthers performance has been anything good, but they have hit the over in their last three games, so there may be a good bet in there for the overs club.
After watching Newton’s performance two weeks ago, I lost a lot of hope in this Carolina team, however their defense can make up for it when their offense falters, whereas Atlanta’s cannot. I don’t see Newton coming out slow after a bye week that let him think about his performance in Miami and it’s hard to trust Matt Ryan in general, but especially against a good pass defense like Carolina, so I am taking the Panthers.
My prediction: Panthers win 20-10, Panthers cover, under 43.5
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Time: 1:00 PM ET
Location: Bank Of American Stadium – Charlotte, NC
TV Coverage: FOX
Atlanta Falcons vs. Carolina Panthers Live Stream
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Atlanta Falcons Analysis
Matt Ryan and the Falcons had a rough offensive showing last week against the Bucs despite Ryan throwing for 297 yards, his highest total of his last four games. His weak offensive line allowed him to be sacked five times, he had three fumbles, threw for zero touchdowns, and had a scoreless second half. 297 yards doesn’t mean much with stats like that. On the bright side, Russell Gage emerged as a promising target, tallying 130 yards, a season high for him.
Cordarelle Patterson has led the rush game for this Falcons team this year and had 78 yards over 13 carries with an average of 6 yards per carry against a strong Bucs defense. He has over 1,000 all-purpose yards and 9 touchdowns on the season. This offense’s best chance at getting past a strong Carolina defense is to keep the ball on the ground. But in order to successfully execute this as an offense, their offensive line needs to help out which we haven’t seen – this Falcons offense has the second-least rushing first downs in the league right now, despite having a talented running back like Patterson. They have also allowed 26 sacks on Ryan.
Atlanta’s biggest problem is their inability to penetrate the red zone when the chips are down. In Atlanta’s five wins, they have converted thirteen of their nineteen redzone drives into touchdowns. But in their seven losses, they have scored on just eight of seventeen redzone drives.
Defensively, Atlanta has struggled – that’s all there is to it. They give up 367 yards per game compared to the 316.3 that they put up offensively per game, with the second-worst touchdown differential across the league. They also allow the second most points in the league and despite having threats like Foyesade Oluokun and Deion Jones, they cannot seem to find a rhythm.
Atlanta Falcons Depth Chart
Carolina Panthers Analysis
The Panthers needed last week’s bye like you need air to breathe. After the performance in Miami, they desperately needed the time to go back to the drawing board and get their heads straight. Cam Newton had a 24% completion rate with 2 interceptions and a QBR of 5.8 that got him pulled in the fourth quarter. It was by far his worst performance of his career. However in the two games prior to that, he looked really good and if the Panthers want any shot at a postseason, they need Newton back to his pre-Miami self and a win this week.
Perhaps their biggest bump in the road in Miami wasn’t as much Newton as it was the loss of Christian McCaffrey, who cannot seem to stay healthy and has now been declared out for the season. The Panthers are 4-3 this season with McCaffrey and 1-4 without him – the one win without him comes against the Atlanta Falcons, coincidentally. Without him the center of their offense is as good as gone – but there is emerging hope in rookie Chuba Hubbard and Ameer Abdullah to control the run game from here on out. DJ Moore is their main target in the air and averages 71.2 yards per game which will likely be a viable option against a weak Atlanta defense. The run-pass option under Cam Newton could also be relevant in this game but the offensive line has to pick it up for that to be effective.
The Panthers defense is what has held them in games most of the season so if Newton and the offense don’t show up, then they will likely have this to fall back on. They have one of the best defenses in the league – it includes Haason Reddick who has 10.5 sacks, Jeremy Chinn and Shaq Thompson. Their pass rush has been incredible and as a unit they have held their opponents to the second-least yards against them in the league. If it shows up this week, there will be trouble for Matt Ryan.
Carolina Panthers Depth Chart
Atlanta Falcons vs. Carolina Panthers Daily Fantasy Picks
I think the running game will be a big part of this game, despite neither team having overwhelming yardage on the run this year. Cordarelle Patterson has really emerged as a running back that can run the ball and catch the ball, and he is their biggest offensive threat right now. He has exceeded his projected points in nine out of his eleven games this year.
As for the Panthers, Chuba Hubbard will see a lot of action most likely now that McCaffrey is gone, and against a weak Atlanta defense, he may be able to find his stride in this Carolina running game to finish out the season.