The Atlanta Falcons take a short trip to Carolina to face the Panthers, who are fresh off of a bye week. The Buccaneers lead the division, but the second spot is up for grabs, and a run of wins for either of these teams could help them sneak in. With the playoff picture emerging, let’s break down the Atlanta Falcons vs. Carolina Panthers Week 14 matchup, the NFL odds, and make a pick and prediction.
Atlanta Falcons vs. Carolina Panthers pick, prediction | Week 14
- Spread: Panthers -3 (Odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook)
- Moneyline: Panthers -155, Falcons +135
- Over/Under: 42.5
The Atlanta Falcons gave the Tampa Bay Buccaneers a game for a portion of the four quarters last Sunday. However, their struggles to find the end zone in any sort of conventional way haunted them. Tampa eventually pulled away, despite Tom Brady throwing a pick-six from inside his own end zone.
The 30-17 scoreline becomes 30-10 without that score. Considering Matt Ryan was able to complete 30 of 41 passes for 297 yards, the fact that he didn’t throw a touchdown pass is disappointing. The Falcons’ inability to score consistently is an issue.
Of course, the vacant Calvin Ridley is a huge loss for this team. Let’s just hope Ridley is okay, and hopefully, he’ll return to the league. Teams have been easily keying on Kyle Pitts, who’s had a tough year as a rookie having to carry a heavy load. Cordarrelle Patterson has ignited the Falcons’ offense on many occasions this year, and they certainly need him to continue his fine form if they’re going to finish with a positive record on the season.
The Panthers need to find a rhythm offensively
As for the Carolina Panthers, firing offensive coordinator and highly touted offensive mind Joe Brady during their bye week came as a partial surprise. But when you look at the capabilities of their offense on the year, I guess it makes sense.
How much of the blame can they really put on the coordinator when the star running back and core of the offense (Christian McCaffrey) has been in and out and barely healthy for most of the season? Now, he’s done for the year, and the QB they traded for and brought in to run the show (Sam Darnold) clearly wasn’t up to the standard they expected of him.
Regardless of that, Cam Newton is now the quarterback for the Panthers, returning for a second spell. Nonetheless, he too was benched in Carolina’s last outing. P.J. Walker came in once the game had got away against the Miami Dolphins.
Carolina will be coming back after a bye week with a lot to think about and get right before they take the field against Atlanta.
Falcons vs. Panthers betting trends
Atlanta is on a four-game streak of unders, including the two games against New England and Dallas where they scored 3 points in total. When you have a lack of a run game and a dearth of pass-catching options, things can get ugly. This is an offense that could fall short of two touchdowns a game very easily.
The Panthers have lost four games in a row against the spread (ATS) when they’ve been the favorite. They’ve lost all four of those games outright, which is an underwhelming record to have as favorites in a contest.
The Panthers have cashed overs in their last three games. They’re leaking points, but they’ve also had a couple of games with an ignited offense — with the thrill of Newton and the (short-lived) return of McCaffrey.
Both Atlanta and the Panthers are 5-7 ATS and 5-7 to the over/under.
Falcons vs. Panthers prediction
This will be a scrappy affair, with multiple drives ending up dead in the water. I can see the punters being busy for both teams as these two patchwork offenses try to go to work. I’d take the under several times over. Take it and run. The game itself is a coin flip, but I’ll take the Panthers. Carolina still has a decent pass defense, and if you take throwing options away from Matt Ryan, they don’t have much else to turn to.
Falcons vs. Panthers Prediction: Panthers 20, Falcons 14